All of the Remaining Designers Are Sent Home on 'Making the Cut' Episode 9

Last episode of Making the Cut ended with Heidi saying that she had a surprise for the final three contestants, and it seemed like she might be telling them that the competition was moving to yet another country (reminder: so far we’ve been to New York, Paris, and Tokyo). But the surprise is *so* much more than that: Sander Bos, Jonny Cota, and Esther Perbandt aren’t just hopping on a plane—they’re being sent home!

Heidi and Tim tell the contestants to pack their bags, because they’re going back home for a month before reconvening in New York City. And it’s not like Sander, Jonny, and Esther are getting some time to recoup and refresh from the competition, but rather, they’ll have to use that month to work on the final challenges. Tim and Heidi reveal that the last assignment consists of:

Whew! The designers then say ta-ta for now and travel back to their respective countries. Jonny goes back to Los Angeles, but doesn’t give himself more than a night there—”I knew if I took one day to slow down, I wouldn’t be able to get back in high gear,” he explains, so the following day he actually flies to Bali—where the teams that he usually works with are based—and designs his final looks from there.

Sander heads to Hasselt, Belgium and enlists his sister to help him with print-making and his mom to drive him around, because, er, he can’t drive! Esther returns home to Berlin, Germany, and her strategy for staying focused is not telling anyone that she’s back.

When the designers head back to New York, the atmosphere shifts a bit, probably because they all know that they’re thisclose to winning the competition. First up is the pop-up portion of the challenge, but pretty immediately upon their arrival to the NYC design studio, Tim drops a huge bomb on them: There will be an elimination after the pop-up shops, and only two designers will have a final fashion show.

For the pop-up shops, the designers have to create the entire experience, from the walls and the shelving to the product tags and mannequins. Oh, and to make things even more intense, the judges invite the public to the shops and will be taking into account which store gets the most orders.

Sander is calling his new collection Miss Bos, and says, “Miss Bos is right in the middle of streetwear and couture. It’s like the silver lining between the two angry clouds.” For the pop-up store, Sander plays with the idea of the House of Bos and gives his cool shiny rainbow-colored space a house-feel—including a glass box in the middle to reference the modern art he’s really inspired by. He also comes up with the idea to have in-house tailoring to give his accessible clothing a more high-end feel.

Esther is also inspired by art for her pop-up, and her main idea is an art installation with black ropes hanging from the ceiling. She chooses concrete for the floor and walls and, yet again, mostly designs in black. “During the past few weeks, I have discovered that my creative limit is not reached yet, and I didn’t expect that,” Esther says. “I’m so hungry for life, and that’s why I called the collection hungry for life…This might be my best collection yet. It’s so joyful, it’s wonderful.”

But Jonny also says that his finale collection is the best collection he’s ever made and feels that he’s now a “totally changed” designer. Because of that change, he names his collection “Metamorphosis” to represents his transition into a more evolved designer.

His pop-up design includes butterflies and greenery, but it has concrete walls and floor just like Esther’s. “Our pop-ups look the same, and Tim just announced that one of us is going to go home after this,” Jonny comments. “This is not a good combination.”

Now that we’re back in NYC, the judges are Naomi Campbell, Nicole Richie, Joseph Altuzarra, and Chiara Ferragni, and Heidi. The judges appreciate Esther’s chic and clean pop-up, but even though the pieces are intricate and detailed, Joseph still worries that she won’t be able to sell her clothes online because black doesn’t pop off the page.

Sander’s pop-up reviews are also a bit mixed. The judges love his tailor experience, but Heidi is concerned that the collection looks too “junior and fast-fashion.” Naomi doesn’t think that’s a bad thing though, saying, “he showed us that he can be sophisticated and mature and do the sweet stuff that the kids want out right now…I think he’s going to be a great designer; we are going to hear about Sander.”

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It’s pretty much the same with Jonny’s store—even though the judges are really impressed with his work (Chiara comments that “every piece looks effortlessly cool”), they also notice that it’s not the most original collection. Naomi points out that “it’s nothing groundbreaking,” and Joseph worries that the brand identity isn’t particularly unique.

And in a very sly move, the episode ends without letting us know who’s getting eliminated—the anticipation!!

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