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With the finale only one week away, the pressure is on! This week, the designers are challenged to update trends from the past - and one designer's dream will come to an end. Each designer will pick a decade to inspire the creation of two garments. Cassandra has chosen the 1960s and is planning a column dress and a shift mini. Since she's only been bought by Saks once, Cassandra knows who she's going to focus on. Hunter's really feeling the pressure after Terron voted to send her home last week, so she's thinking about Saks, too. JesseRay and Garrett have chosen the '50s as their decade, creating a sheath dress and a paired short and crop top, inspired by Garrett's grandmother.
Daniel is feeling inspired by the '60s, since he sees it as an artistically free decade. He's focusing on two trends: all-white and bold geometric prints. But instead of using a printed fabric, Daniel is channeling Paco Rabanne's technique of creating pattern with detail. Even though he knows he should stay commercial, Daniel's willing to take this risk - which could send him down in flames. Luckily, his mentor Nicole is 100% in his corner. Meanwhile, Hunter may be choking under the pressure of her success. She's working with colored lace and wants to add leather, but mentor Jessica warns her to back off extra details. Rather than focus on what happened last week, Hunter should remember her tremendous success.
Jessica's thrilled with JesseRay and Garrett's '50s-inspired design, though she cautions them against using the color black for their shorts - what about pink? Macy's would totally go for it! When Jessica consults the other mentors, they're not in favor of pink, nor are they in favor of polka dots, regardless of the fact that Nicole is actually wearing a polka dot shirt. Cassandra is surprised to be the sole survivor of Team John. At their consult, John reminds her that this week, she's got to deliver perfection. It's time for her to ignite her sparks of greatness. The only problem? Someone threw out her pattern, which brings Cassandra to the breaking point - especially since she's first to the runway.
After losing her pattern, Cassandra is able to finish her dresses, but not in the way she was originally hoping. The mentors love her column dress, but they aren't as happy with her shirtdress. John contends that she's shown she deserves to be one of the Final Three, and Jessica insists Cassandra is the cool girl everyone wants to be. The shirtdress is first up on the block; neither Express nor Saks is interested, so Caprice takes it for $50,000. Everyone's surprised when neither Saks nor Macy's bid on the column dress - so much so that John interjects, appealing to the audience and retailers alike. Erika is happy to scoop the dress for Express for a mere $50,000.
Nicole meets with a very excited Daniel backstage. He's so pumped about his designs, he's not sure what he'll do if they don't sell. The mentors are in love with Daniel's pencil skirt, but they're not sure about the two iterations of his short sleeve top - the shape won't work for everyone. After the runway show, Nicole gushes; clearly, Daniel's her fashion star! Jessica compliments the pencil skirt, but John wonders if Daniel will ultimately be able to manage the combined demands of art and commerce needed to win the show. Daniel's pencil skirt is first on the auction block. Neither Express nor Macy's want it, so Terron slyly scoops it up for $50,000, stating he's particularly impressed with Daniel's handmade pattern.
Again, neither Macy's nor Express want Daniel's top, so Terron takes it for $75,000, bringing an emotional Daniel to tears. "Oh it's so good to be me right now," he says. Finally, it's time for Team Jessica, and JesseRay and Garrett are up first. The designing duo is determined to show they're capable of creating a capsule collection for all three retailers. Jessica and Nicole don't think the guys' shorts quite hit the mark - the waist should be higher, the shorts shorter - but they love the sheath dress in white and a bold botanical print. Express and Macy's decline to bid on the sheath dress, so Terron grabs it for $55,000. When Saks and Express fail to bid on the crop top and shorts, Jessica pitches Caprice, so she picks up the separates for $70,000.
Hunter's feeling the full weight of her fate backstage. She desperately wants to stay on the show - it would mean everything to her, specifically, it would allow her to stay in the fashion business. Hunter has created two looks, and the mentors love her fit and flare dress in black lace. Hunter's second look is also made of lace and features a keyhole neckline and peplum flare with pockets. The mentors commend her on fit and attention to detail. It turns out the judges just love the fit and flare dress. Express bids $50,000, Macy's bids $60,000 - and then Terron crushes them with a bid of $200,000. Recalling Christian Dior's New Look, launched in 1947, Terron is thrilled with Hunter's "home run."
Macy's declines to bid on Hunter's lace peplum dress, but Saks and Express are both interested, and a bidding war ensues. The end result? Both retailers are tied at $200,000, leaving the decision up to Hunter. Jessica pipes up, advising Hunter to let Express have her second dress, since Saks already has the first. Knowing they're a week away from finale, Terron asks, "Wouldn't it be nice to have a collection?" Hunter decides to go with Express, since it was Erika who saved her last week.
There's another surprise in store for tonight. Louise announces that for the first time this season, the mentors will not participate in the elimination decision - it's all on the retailers. The designers sweat it out backstage while the retailers talk over their decision. Once they're called back to the stage, the buyers each take a turn, announcing the Final Three: Hunter, Cassandra and Daniel. Jessica's in tears, saying goodbye to JesseRay and Garrett, telling them to keep going - America wants to buy their clothes! At the end of the day, JesseRay and Garrett are thrilled to have proved they're more than sweater designers, and their friendship is stronger than ever!