This week, the mentors challenge the designers to get feedback from real customers before showing their clothing to the buyers. Lisa Vian Hunter, who creates vintage-inspired clothing for her shop, Vian Hunter House of Fashion, is totally comfortable with this challenge. It’s what she does to make her living! The mentors arrive at the Design Studio to meet the designers bringing a whole mess of customers with them. John tells Lisa that her designs are too covered up. Nicole thinks it’s time for Lisa to broaden her horizons and appeal to a younger audience. Lisa takes the plunge and starts lowering necklines – now the challenge is challenging! Across the room, Kara is loving what John and Jessica have to say, since she’s never tried most of her designs on real humans before.
Jessica loves Lisa’s designs, especially the hot pink dress. She thinks a sorority girl could wear it, and her mom, too. Nicole likes the idea of Ronnie’s top, but she thinks it makes the models look bottom-heavy – and as if their back is going to eat someone. Kara is thrilled when John praises her dress and tells her she rocked the mentors! He thinks the architecture is phenomenal, and he loves the way she showed three different ways to wear her dress. After the mentors speak, it’s time to face the buyers. Loving Lisa’s dress, Caprice offers $50,000 for Macy’s. Unfortunately none of the buyers are interested in Ronnie’s top. Terren offers his two cents – the zipper makes the top look very wide. But the big surprise of the night – Saks tops H&M’s $50,000 offer for Kara’s dress with an $80,000 bid. Then H&M matches the offer, so Terron ups his offer to $90,000 – and Nicole matches it! It’s a bidding war, and at the end of the day, Terron takes it with $110,000. Kara is just beside herself, and promises to make Nicole one of her dresses.
Back in the Design Studio, Ross is charming the customers, a talent which he claims is his special gift. John cautions him that the fabric he’s using to create his jacket is heavy, and the buyers are looking for garments for spring. Nevertheless, Ross decides not to change a thing. Being true to himself is what’s most important. This week, Ross will show his looks with Orly and Oscar, and he’s determined that it won’t be the Oscar show. He tells Orly that if Oscar starts talking, he’ll kick him off the stage. Orly agrees that Oscar is obnoxious. He’s living in Oscar land, and wants everyone to join him there. But it goes both ways; Oscar thinks Orly is an obnoxious, stupid bartender.
After the runway showcase, Nicole says that Ross’ style is cute and he’s a great tailor, but she’s not sure that his Tailored Bolero Jacket is going to sell based on his fabric choice. Jessica loves Orly’s Convertible Maxi Dress, but she’s not over the moon as far Oscar’s runway looks. She did however have a dream that she gave birth to Oscar and had to change his diapers. After saving Oscar last week, John is disappointed in his work. He thinks Oscar’s Cape Dress is 4 a.m. and total hoochie. While Oscar isn’t saying he’s designing for hoochie, he believes there’s a customer out there who wants to take sexy to another level. Nicole points out that his dress is very short. If it was a little longer it would go to 2 a.m., and if Oscar used better fabric, it would be right there at noon. Oscar’s nonplussed. If there’s hoochie in him, he’s gonna bring it out, and if there are hoochies watching from home – a shout out to them!
Elle asks the buyers to start with Oscar, and they waste no time not buying his clothing. While Nicole understands what Oscar was shooting for, she thinks his fabric choices are taking away from his design. Caprice likes the animal-print fabric and Oscar’s draping, but she won’t be making a buy tonight. None of the buyers are bidding for Ross’ look either – and it’s because of exactly what the mentors said – fabric choice. Heavy tweed and boucle just don’t cut it for spring. One of Ross’ jackets has cuffs lined with feathers, which he was thinking would be perfect for Saks. While Terron compliments Ross’ tailoring, he thinks the Texas-style Alexis Carrington embellishments are too much for Saks. The big surprise of the showcase? No bids for Orly’s Convertible Maxi Dress! Caprice allows that the choice was difficult, and for her it came down to hanger appeal, and translating the look to the customer. Now all three designers are at risk of elimination.
Backstage, Oscar bursts into tears and throws a water bottle. He’s not going onstage in the bottom three tonight! He’d rather pack up his bags – he’s left behind his store, his dogs and the family that depends on him. Next up are Luciana, Edmond and Nikki – but there are no sales for them either! Perhaps Detroit engineer Nzimiro is taking the greatest risk by appearing on the show. Last month he quit his job to start designing full-time and he has no safety net, no backup plan, and a lot of paternal pressure to succeed. Tonight, for the first time, all three buyers bid for his designs! After the bidding concludes, Elle throws the choice to Nzimiro. He selects Macy’s, because he understands their brand.
When Sarah first sees her skirt on a customer, she realizes that she truly hates it. Jessica’s on hand to help a panicked Sarah – there’s no time to make something new! Jessica’s hoping Sarah won’t give up completely. With eight hours left to go before her showcase, Sarah tosses her skirt and starts fresh on a totally new garment. Meanwhile, Barbara receives compliments on her clothes from the customers. Since Lizzie hails from Seattle, she tends to use muted colors. Jessica suggests she might try a print, since she’s currently working in a palette of grays. After the three women’s runway showcase, Jessica points out that Lizzie’s garment is on-trend, but her color choice could use some work. John is happy to see Barbara stepping up her game. He thinks her leather tunic dress could work for women of all ages. The mentors admit they were really worried for Sarah, but she made a good choice going with her tuxedo pant – even though they would have preferred that she didn’t make two looks in the same fabric.
None of the buyers are interested in Lizzie’s top. Nicole reminds Lizzie that they’re buying for spring, and knits work well in bold colors. Terron wants to see something other than a top, since Lizzie has shown tops two weeks in a row. Sarah’s thrilled when Nicole offers $50,000 for her pants – her second week in a row with H&M. Nicole loves the tailoring and the fit on Sarah’s pants – tuxedo for daytime! Sadly, there are no offers on the table for Barbara for the second week in a row. Terron asks who she’s designing for, and she admits she’s designing for a woman like herself – someone who wants trendy clothing that’s still age-appropriate. Terron suggests extending her zipper down to the bottom of the tunic, so it can be worn as a coat or a dress. Barbara has no problem doing that – if Terron wants to buy her clothes!
At the end of the night, there are nine heads on the block. Elle calls the bottom three designers to the stage: Lizzie, Ross and Oscar. This week, the mentors choose to save Ross from elimination – which means the buyers have to send either Oscar or Lizzie home. Caprice advises Lizzie to take the feedback that the buyers have offered her to heart. Nicole apologizes to Oscar – he’s not the Fashion Star. Lizzie hugs Oscar telling him, “You’re my fashion star,” and Oscar tearfully heads out. Check out what he had to say about his experience on the show in his elimination interview!