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The Zoe Report Recaps: Amazon's Making The Cut, Season 3 Episodes 1 & 2, Plus How To Shop The Winning Looks

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Spoilers for Making The Cut, season 3 ahead. Amazon Prime’s Making the Cut returns for its third season today, summoning a new crop of 10 designers from around the globe competing to become “the next great global fashion brand.” You can watch episodes one and two right now, and two episodes will continue to drop weekly until the final episode airs on September 9. In that grand finale, one contestant will be crowned the winner and take home a truly epic, three-part prize: $1 million to invest in their brand; a mentorship with Amazon Fashion; and the opportunity to sell their designs in their own Amazon Fashion storefront.

Don’t have an Amazon Prime account? You can sign up for a free, 30-day trial here to start watching ASAP.

If you’re a seasoned MTC fan, you’ll be familiar with the rules of the game: Each week, the designers will be tasked with completing two looks — one “runway,” and one “accessible” — to demonstrate their ability to connect with a diverse, global customer base while maintaining a cohesive and recognizable brand DNA. The accessible look will become available to shop on Amazon’s Making the Cut Store immediately after the episode airs. This season, though, the winner will also be able to create additional color options and companion pieces for their accessible look — a mini capsule collection, if you will.

In addition to her role as host and resident fashion plate, Heidi Klum takes a seat alongside Moschino Creative Director and fashion designer Jeremy Scott on the judging panel. This season, the ever-chic, always-hilarious Nicole Richie — actress, entrepreneur, and Creative Director of House of Harlow 1960 — takes up the mantle from last season’s Winnie Harlow as the third permanent judge. A spate of exciting guest judges will appear over the course of the season as well, from celebrity stylist Jason Bolden to pop stars Chloe x Halle.

Ready to start watching and shopping? Here’s what you missed from the first two episodes of Making the Cut Season 3.

Episode 1: “Evening Wear”

Making The Cut

Recap

This season’s inaugural episode opens with Heidi Klum and the unfailingly dapper Tim Gunn strolling along Rodeo Drive, the luxurious heart of Los Angeles, which Gunn dubs “the birthplace of American fashion, going back to Hollywood movies.” The legendary street also happens to be where the winners of Making the Cut seasons 1 and 2 — Jonny Cota and Andrea Pitter, respectively — each have a store. But Klum is particularly effusive about this season’s designers, calling them “the best bunch yet.”

Are they the most talented crop yet? Time, and Jeremy Scott’s infamously searing remarks, will tell. But they’re certainly the most international: In addition to the United States, this season’s contestants hail from England, Switzerland, Canada, China, and Brazil. They arrive from the airport to the brand-new work room to put the final touches on their first assignment: A two-look evening wear collection that represents their brand’s ethos and aesthetic. (They were all given 10 days prior to their arrival to begin their work.)

The first runway show takes place the following evening, right back on Rodeo Drive. Brazilian designer Rafael Chaouiche kicks things off with his runway look, a fabulous sequined ensemble topped with an ankle-length, glittering fuchsia jacket finished with butterfly-inspired ruffled sleeves — think Studio 54 meets Carnival — to which Klum exclaims: “Hallelujah, hallelujah!” It brings exactly the drama the judges are looking for. The accessible look is a slightly pared-down interpretation of the runway look, but it’s no less show-stopping: A long-sleeved turtleneck top, crafted of the jumpsuit’s sequin fabric, layered beneath a long, sheer chartreuse vest (complete with ruffled sleeves, albeit in miniature) and matching trousers.

Another standout is Brooklyn-based designer Curtis Cassell, whose non-binary evening wear collection comprises four elegant mix-and-match pieces rendered in a rich eggplant shade, a refreshing departure from basic black. (Cassell’s celebrated brand Queera specializes in gender-non-conforming wedding attire, so the designer was squarely in his element here.) In his workroom visit, Tim dubs the construction of Curtis’ tuxedo pants “impeccable,” and Richie appreciates the clear aesthetic throughline between the two equally luxurious looks.

But the judges are unanimously enchanted by Sienna Li from Harbin, China, whose design sensibility she describes as “beauty for beauty’s sake.” Both the runway and accessible dresses are ethereal, sculptural, expertly constructed concoctions, encircled with a metal belt for structure. Altogether, the looks perfectly evoke a “gentle but not weak” effect, as the designer explains to the judges. Klum calls the mini-collection “magical,” and Richie connects with the designer’s overarching message: That the wearer doesn’t need to abandon their femininity in order to appear stronger — in fact, quite the opposite is true. She clinches the very first win of the season.

The judges are less charmed by Emily Bargeron of Savannah, Georgia, who designs festival-worthy pieces inspired by the Woodstock era. While Klum commends her eye for combining textures and colors, she craves more drama from both Emily’s runway look — a two-piece complete with a satin crop top and a long, tiered skirt crafted of ombre-dyed vintage scarves — and her accessible satin jumpsuit. Scott confirms that the pieces “didn’t feel urgent,” and Richie agrees that the evening collection reads overly “daytime.” Emily is the only designer of the bunch who doesn’t make the cut.

Luckily, you don’t need to wait a whole week to find out what’s in store for the nine remaining contestants. But before we queue up Episode Two, why don’t we do a little shopping? Below, you can shop Sienna’s dreamy winning dress, available in sizes XX-Small through 5X and three colors — white, black, and magenta — plus the four complementing garments inspired by that winning look.

The Winning Look

Every detail of Sienna’s winning dress exudes elegance (with a healthy dose of drama), from the tiered high-low skirt, to the fan-like ruffle sleeves, to the open back accented with a bow. Hidden side pockets adds an unexpected casual element, and the soft cotton-and-spandex construction is approachable, not overly precious — but whether you buy it in white, magenta, or black, you’ll look and feel so expensive.

  • Available sizes: XX-Small — 5X
  • Available colors: 3

The Companion Pieces

For a slightly toned-down version of Sienna’s winning dress, consider this companion dress — the overall silhouette is more streamlined, but those voluminous ruffle sleeves, elegant tie-back, and deep V-neck still make a statement. In black, it’s a welcome addition to your collection of LBDs; in magenta, it’s an instant dopamine-booster.

  • Available sizes: XX-Small — 5X
  • Available colors: 2

There’s always room in your closet for another pair of simple trousers. This tuxedo-inspired pair features a hidden side zipper for an overall polished look and a modern flared leg, constructed in cotton sateen that feels smooth to the touch. A hint of stretch keeps things comfy.

  • Available sizes: XX-Small — 5X
  • Available colors: 2

What do you get when you take a basic white blouse, crop it, open up the back, and add voluminous ruffle details? This seriously show-stopping top. Style it with a simple pair of trousers, minimalist heels, and dainty jewelry, and let those signature sleeves do the talking for you.

  • Available sizes: XX-Small — 5X
  • Available colors: 3

Maximalists, this one’s for you. Finished with a corset-inspired hook-and-eye closure, peplum hem, and a tie belt for structure, this ruffled long-sleeved blouse nails the dark romance trend you’ll be seeing everywhere this fall and winter. Pair it with a micro mini to play with proportions, add a vampy dark lip, and you’re ready for a moody night out.

  • Available sizes: XX-Small — 5X
  • Available colors: 3

Episode 2: “Activewear Champions”

Making The Cut

Recap

In Episode Two, the designers are trading the red carpet for the yoga mat: They’re charged with creating a two-piece activewear collection. It’s a 180 from the full glam of last episode’s evening wear challenge, but, as Klum reminds us, activewear is no longer reserved for the gym: Those bike shorts, hoodies, and sweats are now streetwear staples, and it’s what the vast majority of consumers reach for on a daily basis. As this show is as much about entrepreneurship as it is about artistry, this challenge offers the judges a glimpse into the designers’ ability to cater to the modern consumer, without sacrificing their unique viewpoint — or the drama the judges are craving.

Raising the risk/reward ratio is Ned Munroe, Chief Design Officer of Champion America, who comes to reveal this week’s prize: The winner will create a collab capsule collection with Champion, which will be sold on Champion.com in addition to the Making the Cut store. (Champion is no stranger to high-profile collaborations: Designers like Off/White, Rick Owens, and Coach have all created capsule collections with the heritage activewear brand.) The designers are given hoards of Champion logo patches and taping; a textile printer to create their own custom prints if they so choose; and a team of seamstresses who’ll help craft their two-look collections overnight.

Then they’re sent out into the wilds of LA, the unofficial athleisure capital of the world, to ponder how the Champion ethos might square with their own. For Philadelphian designer Jeanette, activewear is all about looking cute enough for an Instagram moment. Meanwhile, Curtis takes visual cues from the steel bars running along the roof at the Banc of California Stadium, home of the Los Angeles Football Club. Back in the workroom, he arranges lengths of Champion tape into a gridded pattern and creates a bespoke print, the results of which Tim calls “staggering.” He uses it to craft his accessible look, a sleeveless, high-neck bodycon jumpsuit.

As a conceptual skatewear designer, Montreal-based Markantoine has a lot to prove in this challenge. To him, Champion is synonymous with his ’90s childhood; in turn, that’s synonymous with Kurt Cobain’s iconic red-and-black striped sweater. Luckily, that leap in logic pays off. The judges are into the grunge-chic vibe on display in his runway look: A pair of slouchy plaid shorts layered over black leggings and white gym socks, topped with a one-shouldered logo-stripe sweatshirt, and accessorized with black combat boots and a low-slung leather belt bag. It’s all very Singles meets Outlander, and I am here for it (and so is Jeremy Scott).

But once again, Rafael proves himself to be a frontrunner. Munroe approves of his use of Champion’s heritage mesh in his cutout runway dress, while Klum, Richie, and Scott all swoon over his gargantuan logo earrings. Importantly, Richie acknowledges that both Rafael’s customers and Champion customers would love the accessible look, a streetwear-inspired hooded vest layered over a mesh top, tube bra, and high-waisted red puddle pants. Backstage, Tim is “so happy to see an accessible look that has drama.” Up in the front row, the judges share the sentiment. Rafael is crowned this episode’s winner.

But Munroe loves Curtis’ accessible jumpsuit too much to deprive Champion customers of it. He tells Curtis that he’d like to partner with him to produce that look, too, making him the week’s honorary winner — and us the future lucky owners of a logo-emblazoned bodysuit.

Later, Jeanette finds herself on the chopping block for her accessible look, an uninspiring white sheath dress with an asymmetrical jacket — not quite the IG-worthy getup she was going for. (“This is giving me nothing,” Klum says sadly.) But the artistry in her avant-garde runway look — though utterly devoid of Champion’s aesthetic — is enough to make Scott change his mind about her. By the skin of her teeth, and Scott’s magnanimousness, she makes the cut.

The judges aren’t so taken with Ciara’s collection. There’s little distinction between the runway look and the accessible look; both comprise a slim-fit, long-sleeved crop top and a midi skirt, better-suited to the office than the street. (“No one needs it,” Richie and Klum declare of her ill-fitting drawstring pencil skirt.) It’s that lack of imagination that ultimately sends her home.

In much happier news, you can add Rafael’s entire winning look to your cart right now, as well as two additional hoodies he designed with Champion — all perfect for rounding out your logo-centric wardrobe.

The Winning Look

Rafael’s winning look is nothing if not cool. Designed with an oversized fit, this cherry-red vest is constructed of Champion’s signature substantial yet cozy Reverse Weave fleece and finished with a heart detail in back. Wear it with the complementing slouchy sweatpants for an all-out look, or throw it on over your leggings when you’re lounging at home.

  • Available sizes: X-Small-Medium — 3X-Large-5X-Large
  • Available colors: 1

The Companion Pieces

This simple black tube top is about to become one of your most-worn items. The stretchy ribbed knit fits like a second skin, and a subtle C patch logo in the back sets it apart from the other black crop tops in your closet.

  • Available sizes: X-Small — 5X-Large
  • Available colors: 1

Sheer and mesh tops are trending this season, and at $40, this one, inspired by Rafael’s winning look, is a low-stakes way to try it out. It pairs so well with the ribbed bra top, as the model wears above; add a pair of cargo pants and high-top sneakers to go full Y2K.

  • Available sizes: X-Small — 5X-Large
  • Available colors: 1

Between the cropped fit, graphic red heart emblazoned on the front, and twin red hearts on either side of the hood, this cut-off hoodie is such a cute departure from your typical black sweatshirt. It’s made of Champion’s heavyweight fleece, so it’ll still keep you cozy.

  • Available sizes: X-Small — 5X-Large
  • Available colors: 1

These puddle pants are such a cool addition to your loungewear wardrobe. The slouchy fit looks so effortless, but the high waist and side slit pockets add structure. Throw on a tiny top, chunky sneakers, a little baguette bag, and layered necklaces for a look that’ll take you straight from errands to a low-key dinner.

  • Available sizes: X-Small — 5X-Large
  • Available colors: 1

A prime example of “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it,” this pullover is everything you know and love about Champion fleece hoodies, including a logo across the front, a C patch at the wrist, a kangaroo pocket, and a relaxed fit. Two red hearts adorning the hood add the subtlest pop of color.

  • Available sizes: X-Small — 5X-Large
  • Available colors: 1

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