By People Staff
Updated October 09, 2009 12:00 AM
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Credit: Mike Yarish/Lifetime; Michael Ochs Archives/Getty

Thursday’s Project Runway brought the bridal wear — with a twist. The women in wedding dresses standing before the nine remaining designers weren’t brides to be: They were divorcees looking to convert their gowns into hip outfits they could wear in the “next chapter of their lives,” as Heidi Klum put it. So, the contestants picked their clients off the runway, collaborated with them on a design and got sewing.

Splitting Up: As partners go, Shirin and her client Charlie skipped the honeymoon stage, clashing over concept, taste level and basically everything during their consultation. The usually sunny Shirin was out-perked by her client, a performer, who begged for an over-the-top costume a la Cher‘s “Half-Breed” look, including that headdress. Shirin wisely knew that if she created the feathery fantasy, she’d be auf’d faster than she could say “Bob Mackie.” Worse, the designer only had a simple polyester dress to work with. Frustrated, she started sobbing until Tim Gunn came over, advised her to clear off her table and her mind so she could be “liberated from this.”

More Tears: Gordana, meanwhile, was sobbing too — and not because she was concerned about her design. The usually stoic designer said she missed her family — especially her children — and placed a tearful phone call home saying how much fun she was having on the show but couldn’t help but well up at the thought of her kids.

The Runway: It’s always a treat to see “real women” walk the runway, and with some major fashion transformations in store, this week’s show was the best yet. With Nina Garcia still missing — seriously, is she allergic to L.A.? — Zanna Roberts once again sat alongside Michael Kors, Heidi and guest judge Tamara Mellon from the board of Halston. In the top: Shirin, who stuck to her instinct and created a simple white dress embellished with chic black stitching. Charlie may have wanted something shorter and more Cher-like, but the judges adored Shirin’s flirty, contemporary dress. They also liked Irina‘s use of lace and Gordana’s edgy, chic gray dress, which ultimately won the designer her first challenge. (Her kids must have been proud!) In the bottom: Epperson, Christopher and Logan, all of whom missed the mark — and badly.

Say What?: In fact, their designs were so icky, the judges couldn’t stop talking about them, providing this season’s most quotable runway show yet. Here are some of the night’s best lines about the worst looks:

• “So, you did not specifically ask for Oktoberfest? When this came out, I was like, ‘Oh my god, she’s going to Germany!'” — Heidi, talking to Epperson’s model about her first impressions of the look. Tamara, meanwhile, dubbed the look suitable for a “pirate wench.”

• “This, to me, is a tragedy.” — Tamara, describing Logan’s ill-fitting pants and vest combo. Klum once again referenced her native Deutschland, telling him, “I’m having an Oktoberfest moment yet again! I’m speechless.”

• Michael Kors had some harsh words for Christopher’s bubble dress, comparing it to a “metallic Hefty bag.” But we especially smiled as he praised Shirin’s restraint while still admitting, “I love a girl who loves a “Half-Breed” moment!”

Elimination: In the end, though, only one designer was leaving — and this week it was an upbeat Epperson who, despite the loss, left with a smile. “I really learned a lot,” he said. “If you’re pushed, you can go further.” –Brian Orloff

Tell us: What did you think of this episode? Who deserved to go home? And were the judges too mean?

Mike Yarish/Lifetime; Michael Ochs Archives/Getty