Hi Hive! I’m Elana, a very lucky intern at Weddingbee! Last Wednesday, I was lucky enough to attend the fashion show for “Operation Dream Dress”, hosted by Brides Magazine . Out of hundreds of entries, just five budding designers were selected to have their dresses walked down a runway in front of a fantastic panel of judges with the hopes of having their dress selected for the front cover of Bride’s Magazine! The theme for the designs was “visionary romance”. The host was Millie Martini Bratten, the Editor in Chief of Brides Magazine. I tried to contain my excitement when the panel entered the room. The panel included:
Rachel Leonard, Dan Rentillo, Britt Aboutaleb, Millie Martini Bratten, Hilary Rhoda, and Austin Scarlett
The designers the judges, and the host
The designers next to their dresses
Here’s a closer look at the dresses and a bit about the designers:
Jennifer Allen designs wedding gowns and couture evening dresses, and also manages a bridal party boutique in Seattle, Washington. Her stunning gown has flowers cascading down the back, into the train.
Haley Badenhop, from Hamler, Ohio is a multi-talented athlete, musician, and fashion designer. Her unique design was both vintage and modern.
Johnny Corona completed his Master’s Degree in Business Administration before going back to his passion and getting a degree in Fashion Design. The panel loved his modern color choice of gray and the glamorous “red-carpet” appeal. Johnny said “A wedding is really a bride’s red carpet day, so you want her to feel special.”
Amy Wong Micucci designed this dress which the judges all agreed had a “goddess” look to it. She has worked for 10 years in fashion as a merchandiser and buyer.
21 year-old Claire Thompson of Cincinnati, Ohio made this dress entirely by hand. She said her favorite thing about designing wedding gowns is the opportunity to “create something unique.”
After the show, everyone had a chance to mingle, and I had both the honor and the embarrassment of accidentally stepping on Austin Scarlett’s shoe! Whoops!
On Thursday, June 26, on Good Morning America, the designers showed their gowns on the runway again, and announced Amy Wong Micucci was announced the winner. You can see a clip of the show here. Her gown had gorgeous draping detail on the front and the back, and a taupe waistband with delicately frayed flowers. Panelist Dan Rentillo commented that the dress was easy to wear and was very flattering for a wide range of body types. When he asked Amy what her inspiration for the dress was, she said “Today many brides have the option to have a destination wedding, so I wanted to make a dress that you could easily throw in a suitcase and still look perfect on your wedding day anywhere in the world.” Smart girl, right?
I spoke with Amy after the show and asked her what she finds most inspiring about designing wedding dresses. She said “It’s a fantasy day for women. It’s a dream and there are no rules!” Her dress will appear on the cover of Brides Magazine November/December issue. And, there was an extra surprise: David’s Bridal is going to produce her dress for the mass market this fall, so you might get a chance to own this special design for your future wedding! Also keep an eye out for her line of bridesmaids’ dresses called Swoon, which launches in spring 2010.
Amy Wong Micucci and her winning bridal dress design
I have to add, just in case you were wondering, that “yes”, Hilary Rhoda is just as flawless in person as she is in the magazines. And “yes”, Austin Scarlett is the most flawless of them all (seriously, I got a close-up picture of him). I had a truly fantastic time at the fashion show and it was so inspiring to see new talent get to show their designs to bridal and fashion industry professionals. It was an experience I will never forget!