As Season 3 of “Making the Cut” hits Prime Video Friday, Aug. 19, mentor Tim Gunn tells TheWrap how “Project Runway’s” major success delayed the start of its fellow design competition show.
“[‘Making the Cut’] actually is the show that Heidi [Klum] and I’ve wanted to do for years, but because of the success of ‘Project Runway,’ no one would let us tamper with the format,” Gunn told TheWrap.
Compared to “Project Runway,” which Klum hosted alongside Gunn as the designers’ mentor from 2004 to 2018, Gunn sees the Prime Video series as “a much broader conversation,” which takes designers’ brands and overall potential into account during judging.
“Speaking as a mentor, it’s a much broader conversation than talking about a pretty dress or a dress that’s not so pretty or a janky hemline,” Gunn said. “It’s really about, well, how does this fit into the larger rubric of your brand?”
According to Gunn, “more depth is built” through this style. “We know more about these designers. And we know much more about their potential to succeed,” he said.
While fashion’s dynamic duo has shifted shows, Gunn’s role as a mentor — and the methodology behind his mentorship — has remained constant throughout both shows.
“I see … my role as a mentor being someone who prods and pokes and asks a lot of questions,” Gunn said, noting that he sees the designers as collaborators, but doesn’t see himself as a collaborator. “My goal is to have the designer see what I see without my having to say it.”
“If I can ask enough questions, and including sometimes asking the designer to step away and stand where I am, so that the designer has my precise point of view, and when they say, ‘Oh, I see it,’ that’s the happiest moment … because they see it without me,” he said.
Given his deep understanding of each designer’s journey and the work they put into their garments before each runway show, Gunn finds it “extremely difficult” to not give his input during judging.
“It’s extremely difficult for me to keep quiet, but I do,” Gunn said, noting that the only times he’s spoken out has been during the finales. “I can lose the discipline that I try to practice on regular assignment runway days … I’m looking at the designers’ work with information that the judges don’t have, and I can’t help but say that that colors my judgment.”
As for his favorite part about working with the designers, the iconic figure says he has the “great privilege of being in their presence and witnessing the triumph of the human spirit.”
Season 3 of “Making The Cut” premieres on Prime Video Aug. 19.