And the 'Project Runway' Winner Is … Tim Gunn?

It takes a certain type of person to fill Jennifer Lopez's stilettos. For the season finale of "Project Runway," Tim Gunn slid perfectly into place.

The singer/actress/fashionista/business mogul was supposed to guest judge the season five finale of the Bravo reality show. But according to host Heidi Klum, a foot injury prevented Lopez from joining her, designer Michael Kors and Marie Claire creative director Nina Garcia at New York's Bryant Park to decide which budding designer will get an "in" to the fashion world.

“We were really scrambling because we just got the message yesterday. It was such short notice, and it is really hard to find someone who can spend a whole day judging," Klum said Friday in a statement. "So, we looked around and realized, oh my God … he is right in front of us. It should be Tim. And why not? He is so knowledgeable and knows the designers more than we do in a way, because he is with them all the time."

Gunn has served as the lovable, if stern, mentor to "Project Runway's" contestants since the show's inception.

“It is a great honor and a thrill, and no one was more surprised than I was!," he said in a statement. "In my own way I am a judge day in and day out with the designers, because I am always giving them critical feedback. What is very important in this enhanced role that I have is that I put aside everything that I know that the designers have gone through to bring these collections to Bryant Park. It really is about the work only. It is not about personalities, it is not about work ethic. It is not about struggle or self-discipline. It is really just about the work.

"Project Runway" finalists Korto, Kenley, Suede, Leanne, Jerell and Joe each showed 10 designs during Friday's show. The show's winner will receive a $100,000 prize, a new Saturn car, a fashion magazine spread and, most important, tons of free publicity. "Project Runway's" two-part finale will air on Bravo beginning Oct. 5.

Sheila Marikar

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