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Spoilers for Making The Cut, season 2 ahead! Come for Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn’s storied platonic romance, stay for the shoppable fashion. Amazon Prime’s Making the Cut is back for a second season, and this year — just like the last — there’s a thrilling element of audience participation in the mix: The winning looks from every episode will be available for purchase on Amazon Fashion’s Making The Cut Store immediately after the episode airs. Lucky for Amazon Prime members, episodes one and two drop today, July 16; and two episodes will continue to drop weekly until the grand finale on August 6.
Don’t have an Amazon Prime account? You can sign up for a free, 30-day trial here to start watching ASAP.
This year, a fresh mix of 10 established designers from across the globe gather in Los Angeles to compete in high-pressure challenges, which test both their design skills and their business acumen. It’s all in pursuit of a three-pronged grand prize: $1 million to invest in their brand; a mentorship with Amazon Fashion; and the chance to sell their collection on Amazon Fashion. And, of course, the singular honor of being dubbed the globe’s newest need-to-know fashion brand.
Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn resume their rightful places as hosts, while supermodel Winnie Harlow and Moschino Creative Director Jeremy Scott step in as judges alongside Klum. Expect an impressive roster of guest judges, too, like designer Prabal Gurung and celebrity stylist du jour Shiona Turini.
What else to expect? Some truly inspiring fashion moments.
Episode 1: “Brand Statement”
Episode One of Making the Cut opens with the joyful reunion between OTPs Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn, who emerge from neighboring, mid-century modern-chic apartments to air-hug and air-kiss each other — from six feet apart. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this season of Making the Cut was filmed in a “fashion bubble,” aka a gorgeous, sprawling Malibu ranch. For obvious reasons, the cast can’t jet off to international fashion capitals like New York and Paris, as they did last season. But if they (and, virtually, we) are relegated to a single location, it may as well be Malibu.
Klum and Gunn underscore another effect of the COVID-19 pandemic: The devastation it wrought on the fashion industry, which led to the shuttering of iconic brands like Barneys New York and Zac Posen. “Now more than ever, it’s important for us to support emerging brands,” Gunn says. The show’s mission to discover “the next great global fashion brand” remains unchanged, Klum agrees, but perhaps it is even more relevant in 2021 than it was last season.
And they’re confident that brand exists on this very luxurious ranch. The season’s 10 chosen designers stream into the workroom, garment bags in hand, prepared to tackle their first challenge: Presenting two looks that embody their brand ethos. One look is designated “runway” and the other “accessible,” underscoring the show’s focus on scaling these designers’ existing businesses to global proportions. The winning “accessible” look for this challenge will become available on Amazon Fashion’s Making the Cut Store, as Klum reminds the designers at the culminating fashion show, thereby reaching the online giant’s millions of shoppers worldwide.
While we’re introduced to all 10 designers, this first episode focuses most squarely on a handful, including Olivia, a recent Parsons grad who boasts a unisex, elevated-utilitarian aesthetic that leans a little Gen Z; and Andrea S., a Colombian designer known for crafting sophisticated, spangled statement pieces. And fashion people may recognize Gary, who owned a brick-and-mortar boutique in Tribeca and became a CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Finalist in 2011. Since shuttering his original brand, he launched a new project that takes inspiration from history and often utilizes secondhand textiles, like Army blankets and 19th-century tapestries.
The designers have already been working on their garments for two weeks, so this workroom sesh is dedicated to final touches, fittings on their masked models, and checking in with Gunn about their designs ahead of that night’s runway show. After the designers are each interviewed about their brand DNA by Vogue Business’ Maghan McDowell — the “business” portion of this week’s challenge — we head to the chandelier-laden runway.
The runway and subsequent critique deliver on glitz, spectacle, and searing commentary from Klum, Jeremy Scott, and Winnie Harlow — the latter two of whom prove deliciously capable of doling out harsh criticism. (“Don’t let confidence turn into cockiness, because I see a little cockiness,” Scott warns Olivia during the critique.)
After sending an “‘80s clown” onesie down the runway but defending his brand statement, Australian designer Joshua narrowly makes the cut, while Lendrell (who boasts major brands like Ann Taylor on his CV) is sent home for his too-basic men’s separates and “somber,” quarantine-esque robe coat.
The judges swoon over bridal designer Andrea P.’s playful, elegant white separates — sheer pants adorned in delicate feathers and a drapey, cutout top — but it was Gary’s brilliant ability to rework legacy textiles into modern silhouettes that clinched the win.
You can shop that “breathtaking” winning look below, plus peruse some of our ideas about how to style this unique, versatile piece.
The Winning Look
If you’re as obsessed with Gary’s winning look as we are, you can buy it on Amazon for just $80 through the link below.
Looking for inspiration on how to style Gary’s self-tie dress? Here are some accessories that would complement it beautifully:
In the cooler weather, these shiny black ankle boots will add a touch of sophisticated edge to the modern-classic look created by Gary. Don’t love the patent finish? The brand also makes a nearly identical version of this boot in faux suede.
When the warm weather comes around, pair Gary’s dress with these classic, open-toe sandals (which also happen to come at an incredible price). They’re sold in plenty of colors that will complement the winning look fabulously, including black, white, beige, or royal blue.
Gary’s dress makes a statement all on its own, so you don’t want to overwhelm it with a lot of loud jewelry. A ring like this would be the perfect subtle accessory — it adds just the right amount of shine, but not sparkle, to maintain the integrity of Gary’s classic, military-chic look.
Episode 2: “Resortwear”
Fresh off their first critique, in Episode Two the designers are charged with creating a two-look resortwear collection — a first for many of the designers — in a single day. (They’re each offered a seamstress who will finish off the work overnight.) Alongside their runway and accessible looks, they’ll also have to present social media posts that’ll be judged by a panel of influencers — a not-so-subtle reminder of social media’s crucial role in the success (or failure) of a global fashion brand.
The contestants are released from the fashion bubble to garner inspiration for their vacation-ready collections. Joshua is inspired by the texture of the waves and the lifeguard tower’s seafoam paint at Will Rogers State Beach; Jaipur-born Angeleno designer Dushyant is drawn to the “happiness, joy, and color” of the flora on the grounds of the Bel-Air Bay Club. This episode also sees our very first workroom “Tim talks,” and Gunn does not hold back on his signature tough love: He urges Parisian designer Lucie against her inclination to skew overly Californian with her drapey white caftan (“We love you because you’re Parisian!”), and wonders if the high neckline on Andrea P.’s beach cover up “makes it too covered up?” A paradox, indeed.
Fittingly, this episode’s runway literally snakes through a pool, and resortwear genius Prabal Gurung joins as a guest judge. Andrea P. again excels in this challenge, thanks to her inclusive designs and pitch-perfect tailoring. Andrea S. also gets high marks for her pink champagne silk frock, styled with a mint silk headscarf — very Studio 54, upgraded for 2021. The judges are less impressed by Lucie’s unfinished runway sheath (which Klum dubs “a bunch of scraps”); but it’s Dushyant’s bland silhouettes and uninspiring prints that ultimately send him home.
In happier news, Joshua redeems himself from an iffy start with his patchwork silk kimono, wear-with-everything white tank, and punchy chartreuse pants — which the influencers deem the winning look after delivering the tie-breaking vote between Joshua and Andrea P. As part of his prize, Joshua chose to collaborate with influencer Suede Brooks on a limited-edition collection that will be sold exclusively on The Drop, Amazon’s in-house, influencer-driven brand.
In the meantime, you can shop Joshua’s three winning pieces below. Perfect for an upcoming beach vacation, or simply floating around your apartment with a margarita in hand.
The Winning Look
Here are some other great pieces that would look fabulous with Joshua’s winning outfit:
These strappy sandals would look so good with Joshua’s wide-leg pants. The square toe gives them a decidedly modern feel, while their chunky block heel makes them comfortable enough to wear even on cobblestones and grass.
Pair Joshua’s look with this handmade bamboo bag — with the flowy, colorful pants and breezy kimono, it’ll be the perfect warm-weather look for all your summer occasions.
A pair of chunky gold hoops will be the perfect finishing touch to Joshua’s outfit. These are nickel-free, lead-free, and a lot lighter-weight than they look. And at less than $15 on Amazon, the price tag is unbeatable.