Vanessa Tapia of Aventura, Fla., was crowned the winner of the Brides magazine's Operation Dream Dress, a competition for up-and-coming designers to create the ultimate wedding dress.
Tapia, born in Quito, Ecuador, crafted an elegant and flattering design with knife pleats to elongate and slim the figure. The pleats were all hand-pressed and hand-sewn to create a structured gauze silk corset. The skirt has a classic softness and femininity. The detachable swirl train is made of chiffon and drapes from the front of the dress off to one side.
Brides editor in chief Millie Martini Bratten said the dress has a tribal, global feel in a classic shape.
It was the second year in a row that Brides magazine conducted the Operation Dream Dress competition. This year, designers were tasked to create dresses around the theme of visionary romance.
Tapia was inspired by the Bauhaus school of thought, which says that form follows function and utility, but she also incorporated emotion. The designer began to draw when she was very young and was always interested in fashion and the human figure, and holds degrees in biology and design.
Tapia's dress will be on the December cover of Brides magazine. Other prizes include $10,000 and an exclusive, limited deal to sell her designs through David's Bridal, a national bridal chain.The winning dress in last year's competition was a top seller, said Bratten.
The winner of last year's competition, Amy Wong Micucci, went on to create her own line of bridesmaid's dresses, added Bratten, who appeared on "Good Morning America" today to talk about this year's challenge and to reveal the winning dress.
CLICK HERE to see last year's dream dress winner!
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Hundreds of entries were whittled down to five finalists. See their designs below!
Tara LaTour; New York, NY
This gown was inspired by a weather-torn small island near LaTour's hometown. It gives her a feeling of mystery and enchantment with an ethereal quality.
The designer has a background in dance and has attended the Academy of Art in San Francisco and Parsons the New School for Design. LaTour has worked on the sales team as a bridal stylist for Vera Wang and Saks Fifth Avenue.
LaTour's gown uses a mixture of silks, and the color gradient was achieved through hand-dying each layer individually. Bratten said the dress was a rock 'n roll fashion-forward ball gown.
Lynsey Bullock; Dothan, AL
Architecture and Hollywood icons such as Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn have always inspired Bullock, so she went with a concept of old Hollywood glamour.
The lace appliqués on the dress come from a vintage wedding gown and the fabric is gold silk shantung overlaid with dotted tulle, dyed to achieve an antique, off-white shade. Tulle flowers, a touch of beading and Swarovski crystals were added for extra detail.
Bratten said vintage was probably the most popular trend now, and called the dress very retro, playful and sexy in the style of "Mad Men."
The designer currently works in a bridal salon and her long-term goal is to bring a little southern charm to the world of wedding gowns and accessories.
Kasia Wisniewski; Brooklyn, NY