It's all about branding this time - the designers will have to create a campaign to represent their collection! Yes, they'll all have to create a single image to show off their brand. As always, there to help are mentors Nicole Richie, John Varvatos and Jessica Simpson (and special guest, Glamour editor Cindi Leive), but as always the people to impress are buyers Caprice Willard from Macy's, Terron Schaefer from Saks Fifth Avenue and Nicole Christie from H&M.
After a showcase of John Varvatos's spring collection, it's time to get to business - who will impress and who will disappoint?
Kara Laricks & Nzimiro Oputa
Kara's going to focus on a tuxedo shirt this week and soon gets to work on her photoshoot, too, after some advice from John. She has a concept of a "genderless world" where an "open mind gets you everywhere". She actually gets emotional during the shoot watching the model transform from a girly girl into a more masculine version of herself, and explains that she is trying to get the message out that you can be whoever you want. She admits that she regrets not being an "out gay, proud role model" for the kids she used to teach and is now trying to tell herself in this competition that it's okay to be the way she is.
Elsewhere, Nzimiro settles on a sweater for his campaign, but Nicole's worried it's not "the right direction" and won't have enough of a story for a campaign. But Nzimiro insists that he feels confident (and we even see his special handshake with Nicole!) Still, he admits that he's "nervous" about his first photoshoot, which will take on a travel theme - Nzimiro explains that you should be comfortable and stylish no matter where you are. "I'm excited about it," he says.
Are the mentors and buyers? Nzimiro's cardigan sweater impresses Nicole, who describes it as "perfect" and a "great representation" of him. And Jessica adores his "awesome edge" and "fresh" feel: "You really knocked my panties off!" Seems Caprice agrees - Macy's makes a $100,000 offer! "It is actually the perfect go-to item," she says. "It's also versatile." Nzimiro's unsurprisingly thrilled: "If I could come hug you, I would."
Meanwhile, Kara Laricks's tuxedo shirt is also a success - John loves her campaign and admits that if he saw her advert he would stop flicking through a magazine and make an effort to find out who she was. He stands up and bows, calling her work "amazing"! It's good news from the buyers, too - both H&M and Saks offer $50,000!
Eventually, Nicole decides to let it go ("We have such a huge belief in you, so in the next coming weeks keep this level and we're saving up some money for you," she says) and Saks bags the shirt with an $80,000 offer. "You've given us a fantastic new white shirt and it is very sophisticated," Terron says. "And with your tie, with your signature, I'd know it anywhere."
Luciana Scarabello & Nikki Poulos
Nikki's feeling confident, since she previously had a collection featured in Sports Illustrated. Jessica, though, admits that Nikki's been "all over the place" lately and hopes she'll step it up, as she does have "potential". Unfortunately, Nikki's struggling - her dress has a very complicated structure ("If you don't know how to sew it, you can't really call yourself a designer," Ross claims in confessional).
There are more problems to come, too - unhappy with sections of her dress and its fit on the model, Nikki tries to direct her photoshoot to avoid problem areas, but complains that it's not turning out as she hoped. So when she meets with the photo retoucher Cory, she asks him to crop out the whole dress. The fact that he bursts into laughter is probably a bad sign, but Nikki decides to stick with her decision in the hope that a head shot will represent her brand. Still, she admits she's "nervous" about the showcase.
Luciana uses advice from Cindi to come up with her concept of a woman "stalking her prey" in the woods. John's impressed with the "beautiful" prints she's working with and Luciana admits that the tough woman she's focusing on could be her! In the photoshoot, Luciana is pleased with her model and the pictures and confesses that her confidence is growing as the competition continues.
But will her cut-out dress impress on the runway? Well, John says he knew "immediately" that the campaign belonged to Luciana and praises her prints and the "chicer" looks she's been working on lately. What's more, Saks makes a $50,000 offer! Luciana describes the bid as a "dream come true", while Terron says he liked the campaign and the dress is "very special". He adds: "We are very fond of you at Saks Fifth Avenue."
There's worse news for Nikki - the mentors are not impressed with her choice of a headshot for her campaign ("It was the worst thing you could have done," Nicole says. "When I saw that, I was like, 'Wait, this has to be a joke'.") Nikki admits that she was "clutching at straws" to get what she wanted, but Jessica says the only way it could work is if it was a celebrity in the campaign. Still, she thinks the disco dresses are "sellable".
Unfortunately, the buyers disagree as Nikki gets no offers. Terron reminds her of the importance of advertising, while Caprice says she would like to see "a little bit more from a range perspective", pointing out that Nikki's collection can't include just maxi dresses. Backstage, Orly admits that she is "so upset" for Nikki, but Nikki admits that she just "tried to salvage" what she could out of her photoshoot.
Orly Shani, Ronnie Escalante & Ross Bennett
Orly admits that she has "evolved" and no longer feels the need to make everything convertible. Instead, she's going to make a motorcycle vest dress this week and jokes that she wants to "kick some serious ass". As for her campaign, she comes up with the concept of an It Girl being caught by the paparazzi on Polaroid cameras, though Cindi advises her to make sure the clothes are still the focus. But Orly doesn't worry too much about her signature on the campaign - will that be a problem?
Elsewhere, Ronnie explains that he wants his campaign to represent the idea of him "chasing his dream". He admits that his family were unsure about his decision to go to fashion school but were happy when they saw his first collection, adding that he just wants to make them proud. So for his advert he gives his model a bunch of red balloons to "make it fun".
Finally, Ross plans to make a vintage-inspired hunting jacket and wants a campaign set in the country (and also admits he's inspired by Jessica Simpson!) Jessica advises him to use the olive jacket he's made in his campaign, but not for the first time Ross decides not to listen to her advice, saying he needs to "stay true" to his identity as a designer.
After presenting his hunting jacket, Jessica admits that she wanted him to use a different colour jacket in the campaign, though Ross suggests that it didn't work. Jessica also advises him that he needed more help with his styling! And it's bad news for Ross, as none of the buyers make an offer. "I'm going to be brutally honest - the campaign, I thought, looked like a film poster for Out of Africa," Terron says. And Caprice suggests that the jacket was "dated" and didn't include the modern edge Ross needs.
What about Orly? Her motorcycle dress/vest "fell a little bit short" for John, though he likes her "very cute" ad and says the patterned vest was the best of the three designs. Unfortunately, there are no offers for Orly. Terron points out that he can't read her signature on the campaign, which leaves Orly very confused indeed (she continues spluttering in puzzlement backstage!) And Nicole says that the outfits needed to be "just a bit more special".
Will Ronnie have better luck? Nicole likes his "really great" advert, and says she wants him to stick around. John says his open back dress is "reminiscent" of other dresses they've seen, but says he'd want to know who the designer was if he saw the campaign. It works for Nicole Christie, too, as H&M makes a $50,000 offer! She explains she loves the detail on the dress and adds that H&M are "so happy" to have the clothes.
Who's Going Home?
It's that time already - Ross, Nikki and Orly didn't manage to make any sales this week, so they're all called back to face elimination. But in a shock move, the mentors are unable to reach a decision on who to save. "We believe in all three of you and we want to see all of you stay," John explains. "That's not going to happen - because of that, we're actually in a stalemate right now. So we're locked and we're going to have to turn it over to the buyers."
But who'll be going home? Caprice begins with Ross, saying that she thought they'd had a "breakthrough" with him in terms of doing classic styles with a modern twist, but says that she now feels like he "lost the momentum". And now they're questioning whether Ross can design for all three stores.
Terron praises Nikki's "passion" but admits that he was disappointed with her campaign and also confesses that the buyers are questioning whether she has the "width, breadth and depth" to create collections for all three stores.
Finally, Nicole tells Orly that they "respect" her passion but admits that this week was "a step backwards" for her, adding that at this point potential might not be enough.
Still, it's time for a decision and it's down to Nicole to deliver the verdict: "We're sorry, but Ross, you're not our Fashion Star." Jessica's certainly upset, as she begins to cry! Ross thanks the buyers and mentors and later admits that he is "upset" he didn't win. "Maybe they don't want this conservative Republican from Texas in their stores," he says. "That's fine. Whatever, I've succeeded in my own mind. I'll go back to Texas with a nice little chunk of change from my winnings and build my brand to an empire."
Fashion Star airs Tuesdays on NBC.
Watch a preview for the next episode of Fashion Star below: