11 Wedding Dress Designers to Watch

You may not have heard of all of them yet, but with impressive resumes, big talent and crazy pretty dresses, it won't be long before these fashion-forward designers roll off your tongue. From new talent to buzz-worthy labels, here's our list of designers you won’t want to miss.
by Libby MacCarthy
  1. Who: Christos Costarellos

    An already established ready-to-wear designer, Athens, Greece, based Christos Costarellos just launched his debut collection of beyond-gorgeous wedding gowns. His dresses show off fine tailoring, intricate finishing details and couture techniques that have become the signature of his fashion house.

    Why You'll Love Him:
    Costarellos's dreamy designs have a distinctly modern take on romance. His dresses incorporate both whimsical lace patterns from the Aegean islands and the minimalist look of Ancient Greek dresses. His gowns feel fresh, while still embracing the beauty of the past.

  2. Who: Samantha Sleeper

    An alumna of Parsons the New School for Design, Samantha Sleeper has made a name for herself creating beautiful, detail-oriented pieces for women looking for designs that reflect their unique sensibilities.

    Why You'll Love Her:
    Using luxe, eco-conscious materials and couture techniques, she creates pieces that are romantic and ladylike with an edgy, bohemian twist. In her debut collection, she plays with color, classic silhouettes, airy fabrics and lace to create dresses that are effortless, elegant and truly unique.

  3. Who: Katie Fong

    With a degree from FIT and experience with some of the industry’s top designers like Oscar de la Renta, Vera Wang and Stella McCartney, it’s no wonder Katie Fong is on our list of designers to watch. Since launching her debut collection in January 2013, Fong has been known for her use of fine fabrics, skillful couture technique and timeless designs.

    Why You’ll Love Her:
    The Katie Fong collection is all about balancing drama with timeless elegance. Her classic feminine silhouettes are reminiscent of couture house collections from the 1950s and feel flirty and playful with fitted waists, shorter hemlines and gorgeous embroidery.

  4. Who: Della Giovanna

    Maria Valentino / MCV Photo

    Michelle Della Giovanna launched her own collection of edgy, fashion-forward wedding dresses for Fall 2014, bringing an alternative design sensibility to the bridal market. The innovative label caters to modern brides who want a statement-making gown that reflects their contemporary sense of style.

    Why You'll Love Her:
    Della Giovanna reimagines the traditional wedding gown by incorporating the latest runway trends into every design. White leather, metal studs and python skin bring a contemporary edge to her dresses. And she designs a range of corseted tops and skirts that can be mixed and matched for a truly unique look.

  5. Who: A La Robe

    Auckland, New Zealand, based designer Elizabeth Soljak, the creative genius behind A La Robe, has gradually been making her way onto the bridal scene since 2004. After leaving New Zealand’s iconic fashion house Zambesi, she launched her own label of ready-to-wear clothing. Constant requests for white versions of her designs have led to a full-blown collection of unique wedding dresses.

    Why You'll Love Her:
    Lightweight fabrics and sheer layers are key elements to the A La Robe bridal collection. Vintage-inspired bias-cut slip dresses in pure silk and cotton fabrics are hand finished with lace trim and layered with ethereal organza or tulle wrap skirts. The results: dresses that have an airy, feminine look that’s a bit bohemian, a little sexy and super pretty.

  6. Who: Luke Aaron

    Luke Aaron began his career in fashion working with award-winning Broadway costume designers in New York City. Now based in Boston, Luke has developed his own label that has a theatrical flair, yet is still soft and feminine.

    Why You'll Love Him:
    Aaron infuses new life into timeless, feminine silhouettes with bold prints, embroidery and color. He creates fashion-forward pieces in silk organza and chiffon fabrics that strike the perfect balance between contemporary style and old-world glamour.

  7. Who: Madeleine Fig

    Since establishing Madeleine Fig in 2013, Jannina Figueroa, the line's founder and designer, has become known for using unexpected materials to create unique textural designs with a vintage, modern edge.

    Why You'll Love Her:
    Figueroa thinks outside the box when it comes to bridal. Experimenting with everything from flamenco style skirts to flapper-inspired fringe, she delivers surprising new takes on classic silhouettes that are fresh and modern without losing an element of timeless elegance. Expertly layered fabrics, like lace and taffeta, create unique textures that are intriguing even up close, perfect for the bride who dares to be different. If you love Anthropologie and BHLDN, you'll definitely want to check her out.

  8. Who: Lakum

    Sathya Balakumar and Heather Green, the creative geniuses behind Brooklyn based Lakum, are changing the way designers think about bridal. Instead of focusing on one dress, the duo designs an entire "suite of looks" that includes every dress for the wedding weekend -- from the rehearsal dinner to the morning after brunch.

    Why You'll Love Them:
    Mixing unique fabrics, textures and modern hand-detailing (think: quilting, exposed stitching and pewter studding), Lakum's designs go a step beyond the traditional beading, lace and sequins. And not only does the brand's unique "suite" design approach mean a one-of-a-kind style for the entire wedding weekend, they specialize in post-wedding serves too, including custom dying and cropping, giving a second life to your wedding day garb and more bang for your buck.

  9. Who: Inbal Dror

    Maria Valentino / MCV Photo

    Israeli designer Inbal Dror isn't exactly new on the bridal scene (she launched her first collection in 2011 after working alongside the likes of Roberto Cavailli), but after bringing her eponymous line of intricate, feminine gowns stateside in 2013, she has fast become one of the most sought-after bridal designers by brides wanting a gown that is elegant, while being both timeless and different.

    Why You'll Love Her:
    Plunging necklines, daringly low backs and form-fitting silhouettes have a distinctly sexy, feminine vibe counterbalanced by exquisite fabrics like De Calais and a high attention to detail that give each gown a classy, glamorous, one-of-a-kind look.

  10. Who: Kelly Faetanini

    Kurt Wilberding

    Following a successful career as the head designer at Priscilla of Boston, Kelly Faetanini established her own line of wedding dresses in 2012 and debuted her first collection for Spring 2014. Faetanini's designs have become synonymous with femininity and classic elegance but with a modern twist.

    Why You'll Love Her:
    Using hints of color, non-traditional fabrics like gold lame and leather and features like customizable beading and detachable necklines, Faetanini's designs allow each bride to create a look that is totally unique.

  11. Who: Houghton Bride

    Kurt Wilberding

    Shortly after launching her ready-to-wear line in February 2012 at New York Fashion Week, Katharine Polk, Malibu native and the creative force behind Houghton, took the bridal world by storm by introducing Houghton Bride, a line of edgy, luxurious designs for the fashion-forward bride who wants something non-traditional.

    Why You'll Love Her:
    Drawing inspiration from Hollywood legends like Katharine Hepburn and modern day style icons like Bianca Jagger and Sarah Jessica Parker, Polk introduces a cool, urban vitality into simple silhouettes with unexpected-yet-high quality fabrics and minimalist design.  She was one of the first designers to play with the idea of bridal separates (think Carrie Bradshaw inspired tulle skirts and cropped sweater tops in her fall 2015 collection), introducing a new way for brides to personalize their look, while identifying how pieces can be repurposed.

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