Making the Cut: Respect the Couture
After leaving the ground-breaking Project Runway in 2018, Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn are back with Making the Cut, now streaming on Amazon Prime. I cannot think of a better time in history in which we need Tim Gunn’s pure positivity. We are all making it work, indeed. (And you better be doing it inside.)
Making the Cut producers selected twelve international, established fashion designers and brought them to Paris, the City of Light and, according to the my French boyfriend, the ville de Parigot. Let’s be real. I put this in there just so I could say I had a French boyfriend. Bonjour, mon canard!
The show’s format is similar to Project Runway and all those other knock-offs. Designer have a certain number of hours/days to compete a fashion challenge. Show the finished garments on the runway and then be judged. And what if your clothes don’t make the cut? Instead of saying auf Wiedersehen and giving you a double buss on the cheek, Heidi sends you straight to the guillotine. Sorry designers, but when in France, do as the French.
Same but different
Making the Cut has plenty of compelling differences from Project Runway. The production value is way, way higher. They are spending that Jeff Bezos money, and every locale is glamorous and elevated. Why bother being in Paris if you can’t show me Paris? The workroom doesn’t have a Macy’s inspiration wall; it has bas relief mouldings. Instead of a sound stage at the New School in Midtown, you get a runway in the Louvre’s cavernous Musée des Arts Décoratifs.
And so far, there have been no wacky design challenges. No one is using pool noodles for a skirt or spider plants for smocking. In the first two challenges, designers have made a runway “high-fashion look” paired with an accessible, consumer look, without the constraints of a weird theme. And if you win, your accessible look is available for purchase on Amazon. Editors note: It doesn’t matter if those are considered essential items right now, because they are all listed as out of stock.
The biggest difference is that the designers have access to seamstresses who work through the night, in an attempt to remove the plot device of designers not having the greatest sewing skills. Tim keeps saying it’s not a sewing competition, but that’s a bit of a fib. While you won’t be sent home because your zipper was puckering, the designers do have to be able to translate their wants/needs to the seamstress via written instructions, and if you can’t sew or make patterns, you are baisé.
Within the first fifteen minutes, I already had my allegiances.
- Esther: Edgy. Chill. German. It’s a good thing my hair salon is closed because I would be in the chair asking for Esther’s side-mullet/rat-tail combination because she makes it look so cool. “Hair is everything…Antony!”
- Sabato: He’s 64, from Milan, and his gravelly voice sounds like he has lived on unfiltered cigarettes and really crispy bruschetta. In the second challenge, he makes a wedding dress for his mother who died only two weeks before filming began. Family drama had kept her from having a proper wedding, and his simple, sexy sheath is the ultimate tribute to her as a woman. It was the 6th thing that made me cry this weekend.
- Joshua: While he hasn’t made a huge splash on-screen yet, Joshua has a YSL tattoo on his neck and did an internship Thakoon, one of my favorite brands that re-emerged in 2019. If you are looking for a comfy sweatshirt that is perfect for quarantining while still feeling like fashun, Thakoon has got you.
- Martha: She seems like the kind of woman who wants you to join her book club that happens to be reading American Dirt. In the first challenge, she chose a fabric and pattern reminiscent of the padded liner in my 1974 play pen. She thinks being extra is enough to be fashionable; Iris Apfel would like a word. Martha likes gingham(!) and chose another color palette because it reminded her of the LSU Tigers. Geux home, Martha, and do a Draper James collab.
- Heidi: She is as goofy as ever and not afraid to look ridiculous, which I think is easier when you are gorgeous. I’m hoping my COVID-19 hair will grow out to match Heidi’s perfect hombre (Looks directly at the camera: it won’t).
- Carine Roitfeld: The former editor of French Vogue knows her stuff and is way kinder than her smoky eyes would have you think. I’m hoping my COVID-19 eyebrows will grow out to match Carine’s perfect mink thickness (Looks directly at they camera: they won’t).
- Nicole Richie: Her status in the fashion world has consistently irritated me. She was born on third base, made more famous in the tabloids, and then became a serious fashion voice because she got super double-0 thin. America!
- Joseph Altuzurra: I call his ready-to-wear collection “rats, thwarted!” This means I love everything he makes and can’t afford a single thing. Altuzarra gives decent feedback but lacks the metaphor portfolio of a Michael Kors.
- Naomi Campbell: To quote the fabulous Casey Rose Wilson, the iconic Campbell is a breath of fresh. If your design is “hideous with sprouts coming out of your shoulders,” she will say it’s “hideous with sprouts coming out of your shoulders.” Why pretty it up with faint praise when the mouth saying it is gorgeous enough. She loves to contradict Richie and likes to remind the designers where they are standing.
“With couture, there’s a certain respect you have to have. I mean, it goes back centuries and it’s like you disrespected the whole entire word.” -Naomi Campbell
Making the Cut wants to showcase competence and how fashion melds both the beautiful and the business. These are artists who don’t want to be starving for their craft. The drama of the show is in seeing what people create, not how they act towards each other. Sure, this show won’t give you the gif content or zingers like Project Runway, but it sure will be a nice alternative to Tiger King.
All images courtesy of Amazon Prime Video.
New episodes of Making the Cut drop Friday, April 3. Come back for Amy’s recaps! What else will you be doing?
Amy takes pride in being a grumpy optimist. Want to talk sports ball? Amy is your girl. Her favorite New York Times crossword puzzle day is Tuesday. If your book is set in the former Soviet Union or World War 2, Amy will read it. As a recovered Southern Baptist, she is raising her daughter to be happy.