Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn are back again for Season 3 of Prime Video’s hit Making the Cut, which kicks off today. Fashion’s longtime fave duo fill us in on why they’re so excited about this year’s crop of designers competing for a $1 million prize.
Congratulations on Season 3! We love the show. What’s new this season?
We have 10 new designers from different walks of life. They all tell their stories through their designs and come from all different places in the world; it influences how they design and the stories that they tell. We have someone from Brazil, someone from Switzerland; they’re from all different places, and everyone brings something to the table. That’s what’s so beautiful about this—they’re not actors, it’s a reality show where you follow these 10 very talented people who already have some kind of a job in this industry. Either they have a little store or a boutique, or they’re part of something, but they’re already in the fashion industry and have a small label, and they just want to get it to the next level. They’re all talented. That’s really what makes a difference.
One thing that’s different this season is that you aren’t locked down while filming. Where did you film?
We filmed downtown in Los Angeles, and even though it was not during the lockdown and it wasn’t as crazy as it was the first year of the pandemic, we are still dealing with COVID. We are being tested every day, and we have to follow protocol in order to keep everyone safe. People always want to know why we aren’t doing more fun “Heidi and Tim” segments, because the first year, we were making croissants and we were running around in shops in Paris. Because of COVID, we were not able to do these things. I feel like it doesn’t show in the ultimate product because it still looks absolutely incredible, and we made the most of it. When we were filming Season 3, we were still in full swing with COVID. We’re happy that we got through this season and last season without anyone actually testing positive. We were knocking on wood.
Nicole Richie is back this year as a judge. What does she bring to the table?
Obviously, she is a very famous person, especially in America. She is just so funny, she’s like an old comedian. I’ll be dissecting this outfit and thinking, and then she will be like, “Oh, this is like a sexy man wrestling thing.” She just comes up with these things, and she is always a lot of fun. She’s very sarcastic. We love having her!
Jeremy Scott also returns as a judge.
Jeremy lost it this year [while judging]. I’ve never seen him like that before. On TV, it has to be really crazy for my tears to come out, and that has happened before. It also happens when you get really angry, and he was just so mad that [the designers] did not use their opportunity better. He just really went there. We love him for it because you know he’s not just there to get a paycheck. He actually cares about these designers. He wants to push them and get them further to the next level and possibly win.
Will you be wearing Moschino looks throughout the season?
Yes, yes, yes! I always come up with these ideas where I’m like, “We should do one day where we all wear Moschino,” so then Jeremy just brings a whole entire suitcase of one whole collection. Then we dig around in there, so we are all in the same collection. It is so fun, colorful, and vibrant. I’ve never been someone who is afraid to wear fashion because I love it and, obviously, that’s why I’m still in it. I just love it so much. He is just along there with me and so is Nicole. We have so much fun.
The show still looks like a zillion dollars. The production values are so good!
I’m just happy for all these people trusting in us, Tim and me, because as you know, they’re all proud, as designers and creators. They’re all very different, and they all have their opinions. I’m always pleased and happy and proud when they all come to us because it’s not easy to be publicly judged, especially your creative output. I always applaud all these designers for coming in and for being very mindful.
We did an interview last year with Gary Graham, who came in second place last season. People are constantly leaving comments that you got it wrong. Thoughts?
It’s so hard to say what’s right or wrong. They can still say that Gary is an extraordinary designer, but so is Andrea Pitter. It was a very, very tough deliberation that went on for a very, very long time into the night. It was like 3 o’clock in the morning and we were all cross-eyed. It’s not like we toss the dice or something and see what they land on. We really discussed it, and it was not unanimous in the end. I wish all the designers could take home a million dollars, but there is only one winner. You just have to do what your heart tells you to do.
Do you feel good about a Season 4 happening?
What’s new this season? What will viewers be seeing that’s different?
That question is something of a conundrum for me, because on the one hand, I don’t want to give anything away. On the other hand, I don’t want to be vague and noncommittal. The show is really about the designers, and Heidi and I are “window dressing,” in a manner of speaking. The designers are great. Whenever people say, “Isn’t the pool deluded?” or “Are they weaker?” The wonderful thing about the show is the Amazon of it all, and the Amazon fashion of it all, and the million dollars. This group of designers is extraordinary, which is not in any way meant to diminish the talents of the two prior seasons. The designers were great, especially the winners, but it’s a different group. Obviously, there’s more fashion risk-taking, and it’s also a very international group. In fact, I don’t want to give things away, but by the end, it’s almost all international. It’s compelling. I will say this, we taped Season 3 in Los Angeles for the second year in a row and it was all COVID-related. We’ve got to move [cities] if we have another season; we can’t go back there. We’ve exhausted it.
Really? What do you mean by that?
In Season 3, we were out and about a lot more than we were in Season 2, when we practically almost never left the ranch. Season 3, we are out and about, but it’s limiting. I would say the same thing if we were using New York season after season. It’s really about inspiration. And that was what was so wonderful about Season 1 being in New York and Paris and Tokyo. It was inspiring, but it’s also not a travel show. So it’s not as though that’s the goal. It’s more about fueling inspiration.
When you say that this crop of designers is extraordinary, what is it about them that you found extraordinary?
It’s the risk-taking. They’re much more inclined to take risks. They certainly know that with every assignment that there is a high-end runway look and then a more accessible look. The idea being that that would be the look that if the designer wins that assignment, that would be the look that would be reproduced. And the high-end looks are risky and extremely compelling for just that reason.
Do you ever have any designers that you just don’t like?
Oh, yes. [Laughs] Usually, though I never communicate this to the judges. They are [typically] among the first to leave because I’m not the only one who feels this way. I’ll tell you what it is: For me, it’s about individuals who don’t allow any outside input in. They’re very stubborn, and I use the word “stubborn” as opposed to “tenacious” because they don’t want to let anything into their heads that might alter how they either look at fashion, or look at the creative process, or create their work. And I’m certainly not there to tell them what to do. While that’s not what I do, I’m there to help them step back from their work and look at it with their own critical eye, not through mine, because mine, mine doesn’t matter. And when there’s a tremendous resistance to doing that, it’s troubling. And of course, the same thing happens before the judges, so the judges are picking up the same vibe that I am. And generally, it’s going to be those individuals who are the first to leave the show. And it’s not nice, but when you don’t like them, it’s a relief. By the time we’re down to half the number, then it’s painful to see anybody go home. It’s really, truly painful.
You’ve been on these kinds of shows for almost 20 years. Are the people who sign up for them the same as they were back then, or are they different?
No, they’ve changed a lot. There really is a pronounced difference between Project Runway and Making the Cut. And that pronounced difference is the branding aspect, because Making the Cut is not just about a pretty dress. You want the dress to be pretty, but it’s a much broader picture. And with Project Runway, it was about just that moment in time when the designers are creating something for that particular runway. With Making the Cut, it’s a cumulative evaluation where you’re connecting all the dots from the various assignments and trying to figure out who really deserves this enormous prize. So it’s just a much broader picture with Making the Cut. The depth with which we question the designers and our expectations are very different.
We know you and Heidi are both involved in the casting of the show. What are you looking for in future designers?
We’re really looking for a point of view in the passion, certainly, and we’re looking for elements of success. With Making the Cut, you need to see some evidence of success in the field. That’s really important because if you don’t know how to create a business, it’s difficult. It’s difficult to talk about it because it all sounds like a theory to an individual who hasn’t experienced it. These are people who have storefronts, they have an online presence, and they have a clientele. It’s good to hear about those things from people with experience, as opposed to from someone who’s never sold.
People were upset that Gary Graham didn’t win the show last year. Who would you have voted for if you were a judge?
Well, I’ll tell you because I rose from my seat, and I’m really not supposed to be speaking during these things, and I said it should be Gary. And that’s not to diminish Andrea Pitter. Andrea is fantastic. I adore her, and she’s done so well. But for me, Gary was the underdog and he was a rock star early on [in his career], and then basically went into hiding. And I was championing the fact that he was looking at the second coming and I wanted that to be emblazoned in his win and also in Making the Cut. Things happen for a reason. He’s doing well. His denim jacket went into production twice, and he received the proceeds and a lot of money.
What else are you up to these days?
I’m the luckiest person in the world. I’ve never been bored one day in my entire life. I have so many things that occupy me. I write and I read and I think. Thankfully, I like my own company. In some ways, it’s a return to childhood, because I love being in my room alone and reading and playing with my Legos. I’m a perfectly happy camper.