“Project Runway” icon Tim Gunn has made it work again and is carrying on as the host and executive producer of Amazon’s “Making the Cut,” which just wrapped its globe-spanning first season this spring.
Initially, Tim tells Gold Derby that he and partner Heidi Klum decided to move on from “Project Runway” — the source of their shared Emmys that they won as reality show hosts in 2013 — when the fashion competition moved back to its original home on Bravo last year. How did they end up developing a relationship with Amazon? “When Heidi and I made the bold decision to leave ‘Project Runway’ –because we had a vision for a very much elevated fashion competition that is ‘Project Runway’ on steroids — we went out to pitch it.” Watch the exclusive video interview above and secretly check out Gunn’s book collection, too.
They first talked to Netflix. “But then Amazon reached out to our agents, who are right across the hall from each other at CAA, and said, ‘We hear Heidi and Tim are on the market’ –I love that term, on the market — ‘and we’d like to talk to them.’ “
“Heidi and I left the meeting, went out into the parking lot, gave each other a giant bear hug, and said, ‘It doesn’t get any better than this.’ Not only was Amazon eager to be a creative partner, because this show is a real collaboration among many of us, but what evolved was this whole shopability aspect, which is simply phenomenal to actually see something, a design that is the winning look for a particular episode and to be able to buy it immediately is phenomenal, and the winning looks have been selling out in 24 hours and 100% of the proceeds go to the winning designer and it’s simply a fantastic thing.”
Times have change in the world of fashion . “It’s a very different playing field now,” he says. “A designer’s success can’t rely upon just a pretty dress. They have to have a whole package that means they have to be a brand. At the core of ‘Making the Cut,’ is branding. The designers design clothing, yes, but how did those designs fit into the larger rubric of their brands? That was for all of us a much more interesting discussion and a deeper, broader discussion.”
Besides allowing the public to buy the winning fashions after watching the show, Tim and Heidi wanted their new approach to reflect fashion on a global scale. “We wanted to travel, we wanted to explore other fashion capitals other than New York and, of course, Paris and Tokyo are prime candidates and they’re very, very different, which appealed to us, and we literally take the designers around the world. We also introduced seamstresses because there’s no reason why the designers should have to execute every stitch themselves. It allowed them to be more ambitious.”
Turns out the pair were quite pleased with the dozen diverse participants who at least made the initial cut. What most delighted him, however, was how the designers built a community among themselves and that they would “support each other, nurture each other, help each other.” What he didn’t miss? “There wasn’t that backbiting and squabbling that I’m used to having to extinguish.” He declares the 12 participants to be “the loveliest, most user-friendly and dear, wonderful group of people.” Tim, who got to watch each fashion show, goes on to say, “I feel like a proud papa in a way and I felt their emotion.”
One last question: Has Tim caught any glimpses of the re-booted “Project Runway” with Season 4 winner Christian Siriano stepping into his mentorship shoes? “I’ll be honest with you, and I said this from the beginning, I want to be an honest man. I’ve never seen the show, so I really can’t comment on it.”
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