With only two weeks left until the finale, it's time for the biggest Fashion Star challenge yet! The mentors trek to the Design Studio to explain: it's all about bridging the gender gap and getting trying something totally different. The designers will create a garment for women in two colors and a complementary garment for men in two colors. Hunter's immediately nervous - she doesn't design menswear. Her teammates JesseRay and Garrett have done almost no designing for men either, but having achieved the distinction of selling to all three stores, they're up for the challenge!
John thinks his team is the strongest, but Cassandra is nervous, coming off last week's disappointment when she didn't sell. She's decided to take a big risk and create a loose, Japanese-style pant with lots of detail. Cassandra's parents live in Edmonton, Alberta, and they rarely get to see each her - but they'll come to Los Angeles if she makes the top three. So the pressure's on personally and professionally for Cassandra. Nicole has only one designer left - Daniel. This isn't a bad thing, since Nicole can focus solely on Daniel, and she' s decided to encourage him to go with his gut, which is all about taking risks.
John has decided to go fabric shopping with all the designers this week to advise them on men's trends, which change slowly, mostly around color and fabric. He also knows the buyers will want to see synergy between the designers' men's and women's garments. JesseRay and Garrett tell Jessica they're creating a shirtdress for women and a shirt jacket for men. When both pieces come down the runway, the buyers should see a strong correlation. Silvia's going to create her version of a polo shirt for the guys, because she thinks simple is sexiest, and an asymmetric top for the ladies. John's concerned that while Silvia has sold plenty to Saks, the other stores may not perceive her as the go-to for their capsule collections. Nevertheless, Silvia feels very strongly about her polo shirt and decides to proceed.
Daniel tells Hunter that he's going to make a denim motorcycle jacket for men and a romper for women. Hunter's freaking out, because she's having a hard time with her men's design. After missing the mark last week, she wants to meet this challenge to a T. She plans to create an anorak jacket for men, and an updated, deconstructed anorak vest for women. She's intent on showing the buyers that she's innovative, but she's making Jessica nervous for the first time. Jessica figures it's way too late in the game to be designing this far out of the box.
Lucky for Cassandra, she started off in menswear, and John's confident that she's going to blow everyone's mind with her pant design - as long as she gets the fit and drape right. Hunter's anorak for women is great, but she's not happy with the fit of her men's jacket, so she decides to start from scratch - will there be enough time to finish? Daniel is daunted by the size of his male model's shoulders, but he's loving his denim dress. He's stunned to discover Silvia is doing an everyday polo shirt, which doesn't seem like her. JesseRay and Garrett are pleased with their women's shirtdress, but their men's shirt jacket has Cassandra wrinkling up her nose and thinking of correctional facilities.
Ironically for Silvia, the one week she creates a simple design, everything goes wrong, leaving her in tears. Although she does finish all her garments, once they're on the models backstage, she's not happy and fears she'll fail to sell. After Cassandra and Silvia's runway show, John reacts - it's not a wow. Cassandra's women's pant is first on the auction block. Neither Express nor Saks are interested, so Caprice picks up the pant for $50,000. But Macy's doesn't take the men's pant - Express does for $60,000. With no bids on her men's polo shirt, Sylvia gets a warning from Caprice - her designs aren't resonating with the Macy's girl. John agrees that Silvia's polo shirt isn't exciting enough for this point in the competition, regardless of her talent. It's not looking good on her asymmetric women's top either... until Terron plunks down $100,000!
The only designer left on Team Nicole, Daniel wants to style his models in tribute to the late Amy Winehouse. John's loving Daniel's white on natural denim jacket, but neither he nor Nicole are sure about the romper, which looks a little junior to them - maybe Express will go for it? Also, Daniel made an attempt to distress his dark denim with bleach. John isn't a fan, but he loves the jacket's fit. Neither Macy's nor Saks care for Daniel's men's jacket, so Express picks it up for $75,000. Erika tells Daniel he "blew her hair back on both pieces" and bids $125,000 on his romper. Now Daniel has sold more than any other designer on Fashion Star - over $800,000!
Hunter is feeling close to the edge, emotionally and physically. When she starts melting down during styling before the runway show, Cassandra talks her down off the ledge. Nicole loves Hunter's anorak jacket vest for women, and Jessica particularly loves it in white for spring. JesseRay and Garrett's shirtdress and shirt jacket seem a little basic for the mentors' tastes, but Jessica salutes her team for "capturing the All-American girl." None of the buyers are interested in JesseRay and Garrett's jacket, but a three-way bidding war erupts for their shirtdress. Erika steps out of the bidding when Macy's and Saks tie at $200,000 each, which means it's time for the two retailers to pitch the buyers. Even though Terron cautions the guys to make "a business decision," they decide to return Caprice's support and give the dress to her Macy's girl.
Just like her teammates JesseRay and Garrett, Hunter fails to sell her men's anorak to any retailer. The big surprise? No one wants her women's anorak vest either. Erika explains that it was a disappointment and too far outside Hunter's zone. Nicole admits this will probably hurt Hunter's chances to stay in the game. The designers sweat it out backstage, since all of them are in jeopardy, as the mentors discuss which two designers to nominate for elimination. When the designers return, Jessica can't believe she's telling Hunter her head's on the block, and John is equally uncomfortable giving the bad news to Silvia.
Backstage, Cassandra breaks down in tears in shock, while Hunter and Silvia hold hands at the front of the house, awaiting the bad news. Terron explains that his decision is a difficult one, since he's bought clothing from both Hunter and Silvia. He casts his vote for Hunter. Concerned with her ability to design for all three retailers with equal success, Caprice casts her vote for Silvia. Erika's left with the tie-breaking vote, which is killing her. In recent weeks, Hunter seems to have lost some of her mojo, but Erika ultimately agrees with Caprice: Silvia's design aesthetic doesn't necessarily work for all three retailers. Ever classy, Silvia thanks everyone for giving her the highlight of her life and exposing her work to America!
The pressure is on when the designers are challenged to create a garment that works for both men and women!