Operation Dream Dress Winner Revealed!

PHOTO A wedding dress designed by Vanessa Tapia is shown on the Dec. cover of Brides Magazine.
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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.

Wedding Dresses

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.

Wedding Dresses

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!

CLICK HERE for more from Brides magazine.

CLICK HERE to follow the 30-Day Wedding Countdown: one bride-to-be's journey to the altar with advice from a celebrity wedding planner.

Operation Dream Dress Finalists

Hundreds of entries were whittled down to five finalists. See their designs below!

Tara LaTour; New York, NY

Wedding Dresses

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.

Wedding Dresses

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.

Wedding Dresses

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.

Wedding Dresses

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.

Operation Dream Dress Finalists

Kasia Wisniewski; Brooklyn, NY

The designer was inspired by art nouveau painter Alphonse Mucha's "The Moon and the Stars."

Wedding Dresses

Wisniewski used a laser cutter to create the engineered cutouts at the sleeves and hem of the dress. The circles were then used to embellish the neckline and the belt. The gown itself is bias-cut, crepe back satin in platinum. Somewhat unconventionally for bridal fashion, it is a wrap dress. It's also Hollywood glam, but instead of being vintage, it's futuristic, Bratten said.

Wedding Dresses

The designer is a graduate of Pratt Institute, where she majored in fashion design and minored in art history. She is currently a design assistant and Vera Wang in the bridal department, and also had held internships at Zac Posen, Rebecca Taylor and Junko Yoshioka.

Wedding Dresses

Wedding Dresses

Megan Lawless; Savannah, GA

When she heard the theme was cutting-edge classic, Lawless immediately knew she wanted to use black and ivory.

The dress is an ivory duchesse satin with black tulle accents and a black tulle waistband. The train is detachable. Lawless felt that a lot of women like to have a more formal look for the ceremony and a more casual look for the reception, Bratten said.

The designer became interested in bridal when she attended her cousin's wedding at the age of 12. In high school, she debated between going into pre-med or fashion, but when she began working at a bridal shop in her senior year, she decided to drop her science classes and take fashion design instead.

CLICK HERE to follow the 30-Day Wedding Countdown: one bride-to-be's journey to the altar with advice from a celebrity wedding planner.

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