One day you’re on TV, and the next day you’re streaming.
Such is the life of Heidi Klum, who, along with her “TV husband” Tim Gunn, is going global with the new fashion design competition Making the Cut, debuting Friday on Amazon Prime Video. Gone are the days of Parsons and fabric store Mood. While part of the 10-episode season will be in New York, Klum & co. are now circling the globe, taking the show to Paris and Tokyo as well.
Twelve designers — some who already have celebrity clientele, others who are are fresh talent — are competing for a whopping $1 million prize, and the winning look from each episode, two of which will premiere each Friday, will be available immediately via Amazon Fashion's Making the Cut store. Helping make those decisions are a rotation of judges including Naomi Campbell, Nicole Richie, women's luxury-wear designer Joseph Altuzarra, former Vogue Paris editor in chief Carine Roitfeld, and fashion designer and influencer Chiara Ferragni.
Klum, who's also returning as a judge for the next season of NBC's America's Got Talent (one of the many shows that have postponed production in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic), tells EW about upping the ante for her new series, why she wanted to be part of the Amazon family, and why you won't hear her saying "auf wiedersehen" on the new series.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: First of all, a $1 million prize? My jaw dropped when you said that!
HEIDI KLUM: [Laughs] I know! I asked for a lot of things over at Amazon. One of the things they said yes to was the million dollars for the winner. When we did the casting, we did not tell anyone what the prize was going to be. So when I'm telling them, it’s the first time when they found that out. They had no idea. So, that was extra-special for us.
Amazon has a global audience with its streaming service, in addition to being a global marketplace. Is that what prompted you to approach them, or did they come to you?
No, no one came to me, I went to them. I went to them because I love Amazon. I went to them because they are watched around the world. The winning look that people can find all around the world, 200 countries, can finally shop the winning look, which will be $100 or less. And I went to them because once you have it, you can have it in two days with Amazon. How amazing is that?! So for me, this was a full circle — to watch your favorite show, find something you love, and shop and have it in two days. For me, it was a win win win win win win situation.
Like Project Runway, this show has design challenges, Tim as a mentor, the runway show, and judges. Aside from the $1 million prize, how did you intentionally go about distinguishing this series from what you’ve done before?
We’re finding the next global brand, so this is no longer a sewing competition. We’re looking for someone who understands what a brand is all about…. What it means to be a brand that people will love and understand all around the world. We are also having designers from around the world, so it's not just designers from America. We saw hundreds and hundreds and hundreds, so many people. I hope people will watch the casting process videos [online]…. That was a lot of fun. But yeah, a lot of our designers were worried about their sewing skills.... but I have seamstresses along the way to help them bring more of their vision as a designer. There are so many great designers who all don’t sit there with a sewing machine. You have a team around you that helps you facilitate.
One of the great, and I suppose unexpected, things about Project Runway was all of the things that went viral, like your catchphrases. So was there a lot of thought put into what you say when someone is eliminated — “I’m sorry, you’re not making the cut” — or did you want things like that to happen organically?
We didn't really want to put a lot of thought into it like that. Obviously people are always like, “Oh, are you going to say ‘auf Wiedersehen’ again?’ It happened organically on Project Runway for me to say "auf Wiedersehen" and I did not want to do the same thing again. Even though it's something that all Germans say when we say goodbye to people. But I felt like I did this for 17 years, it became a big thing, and even now when I see people on the street they're like, “Oh my God, could you please record ‘auf Wiedersehen’ on my answering machine?" [Laughs] I will probably have to do that forever and I don’t mind at all, but I just didn't want to do that again. The show is called Making the Cut, and obviously some don’t make the cut and I tell them that they didn't make the cut. We didn’t want to [script it] or write anything. We just say what comes to our minds and it’s more organic I guess.
How was it getting back together with Tim Gunn and filming again?
It felt like we just were on a short little break. I’ve always called Tim my TV husband, and it felt like we had a short little hiatus and we were back together again but fresh and rejuvenated and ready for this new Making the Cut journey, which has been a lot of fun. It was, in the very beginning, a little bit of a juggle. We also weren’t 100 percent sure where we were going to go but we were like, we want to stay together, and we're going to see what the future holds, and shopped around, and here we are and we couldn’t be more excited to be working together again. So many people have said that they missed us on TV together, so for everyone who has missed us, they can now watch us again together, and we couldn't be more excited for this journey that we are entering together.
What are you excited for audiences to see as the season unfolds?
They’re going to see amazing designers. They’re going to see a little bit of the culture of the places that we visit — we’re going to Paris and Tokyo. These designers were so very inspired to see these different places that we took them to, especially Tokyo. You’ll also see a lot of amazing, fun vignettes, fun little things with Tim and me while we’re waiting for the designers to make their clothes. Fun little bonus videos. For example, we wanted to show people how you make croissants, so there’s a fun little croissant video in Paris. We show people how to make sushi.
There’s the whole thing at the Moulin Rouge.
Yes! He surprised me because he knows how much I love the Moulin Rouge. And we danced with them! So there are a lot of fun little videos of Tim and me as we go out while the designers are working.
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