2011 Operation Dream Dress Winner Revealed!

PHOTO: The July 2011 issue of Brides magazine.
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Nandi Fernandez of Miami was crowned the winner of this year's Brides magazine's Operation Dream Dress competition today on "Good Morning America," where her winning dress was revealed for the first time live.

It was the third year in a row that Brides magazine conducted its Operation Dream Dress Contest, a competition for up-and-coming designers to create the ultimate wedding dress.

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Fernandez, born and raised in Kingston, Jamaica, crafted a dramatic, three-dimensional, sculptural gown that built on this year's contest's theme of "artful romance," with its draping and detailed pleating.

"For this contest we were searching for gowns that play into how American's marry," said Brides editor in chief Millie Martini Bratten, who appeared on "GMA" today to talk about this year's challenge and to reveal the winning dress.

Fernandez drew inspiration for her gown from "The Birth of Venus," painting by Sandro Botticelli, inspiration that Bratten said gave the dress a "Goddess look."

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The pleating on the gown was inspired by the shell the Goddess of Love stands on as well as the seascape in Botticelli's painting.

Fernandez, who trained at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, used romantic details such as a beaded pearl belt to incorporate both feminine charm and modern sophistication into her dress, with special attention also paid to giving the dress a vintage and timeless charm.

"We were looking for something romantic and dreamy but creative and edgy," Bratten told "GMA" of the magazine's approach to this year's wedding gown search. "Something sophisticated for a very contemporary bride."

Biggest Contest in Dream Dress History

Fernandez's wedding dress design was selected over the designs of nearly 400 other designers who originally submitted sketches, a record number of submissions for the Dream Dress competition.

Those designs were narrowed down to 24 semi-finalists whose gowns were posted online for nationwide voting.

After more than 16,000 votes from Brides' readers, another contest record, a top five emerged, with Fernandez revealed as the winner today.

Fernandez's dress will appear on the July cover of Brides magazine, on newsstands June 21st. She will also receive a cash prize of $10,000.

Past finalists and Dream Dress winners have gone on to create their own lines and present at Fashion Week, Bratten added.

CLICK HERE to see last year's dream dress winner.

CLICK HERE to see "GMA's" Wedding Highlights.

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