Offbeat bride

California, Wedding Dresses

Courtesy of Operation Aisle Style

A beautiful wedding dress doesn't have to be white, a fact that was proven on March 12th, when Anti-Bride teamed up with the W Hotel, San Francisco to host Operation Aisle Style, an "alterna-bridal" fashion event.

The event featured two runway shows, the first showcasing more traditional wedding gowns by former Project Runway contestant, and current head designer of Kenneth Pool, Austin Scarlett. (Though, even Scarlett has been venturing out of the all-white framework by designing gowns in shades of gray.) The second show was a competition highlighting the work of The Art Institute of California's fashion design students. The students were given the challenge of designing an "alterna-wedding dress" (translation: no white allowed). The students' gowns featured a range of inspirations including Rockabilly, Hippie Chic, '40s Pin-Up, and Punk Rock. The winner of the student challenge was Chaz Schaad who designed a futuristic-looking, voluminous black silk gown—certainly not a look for every bride, but perhaps a few fashion-forward ones (hey, Sarah Jessica Parker wore black to her wedding). You can see photos of both runway shows (and perhaps find some inspiration) on photographer Thomas Hawk's flickr site. —Lauren Matthews, editor, Brides Northern California

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