When brides visualize their ideal dress, it's not uncommon for things to get very specific—a dreamy skirt, a flattering neckline, and a fabric that ties together the entire look. It goes without saying that each of these attributes is subject to the bride's taste, but a bride-to-be's background can be a contributing factor, too. A wedding dress can be a vivid reflection of childhood dreams and a clear callout to the customs that they were raised around. So, if you're on the market for a look that strikes a balance between contemporary and classic, there's no shortage of forward-thinking Latinx designers to take note of.
The customs in question aren't monolithic: The Latinx community is comprised of a rich tapestry of traditions, and the gowns from the latest class of designers—from the Boriqua and beyond—honor this diversity with a wide array of silhouettes. From Canadian brand SOTO to New York-based design house Verdin Bridal, designers infuse their creations with subtle details that pay homage to their heritage. For Carmen Llaguno, this takes shape alongside local artisans in Mexico. For Verdin's founder, Gustavo Nunez, this manifests in his creative process, with details inspired by his own Mexican culture.
Ahead, get familiar with the Latinx designers putting a unique twist on traditions to adorn the next generation of bridalwear.
Enrique and Boni Soto are the husband and wife duo behind SOTO, a new brand breaking the mold with unconventional, otherworldly designs. Drawing inspiration from their Mexican and Colombian backgrounds, each gown exudes whimsical luxury that strays from the status quo while still staying true to its roots. "SOTO is filled by the spirit of the Latin cultures we grew up in; fierce, passionate, and independent," Enrique tells Brides. The idea for SOTO first emerged when Boni designed her own wedding gown for the couple's own 2017 nuptials. But it wasn't until 2020 when the couple decided to design their first full collection and relocate from Canada to Mexico.
The SOTO Bride:
According to the designers, the SOTO bride can't be boxed in. Enrique explains that they create looks "evoking old-world romance and new world rebellion with striking, minimal silhouettes that make space for brides to bring who they really are to the forefront—and not some traditional image of what a bride is supposed to look like." These come together to create unique bridal moments for "those who dare to call themselves a bride and challenge the status quo," he adds.
Verdin New York
Originally hailing from Guadalajara, Mexico, designer Gustavo Nunez launched Verdin Bridal in 2017 as a way to merge his upbringing (the line is named after his mother) and his experience (his couture resume includes Reem Acra and Marchesa). In the brand's own words, Verdin's COO, Juan Carlos Guzmán, tells BRides that Nunez's "designs are inspired by his Mexican culture paired with his technical experience gained from his stints at renowned brands."
The Verdin Bride:
Verdin New York designs bring an out-of-the-box element to well-loved bridal silhouettes. Each gown pulls together an eye for modern tastes and an appreciation for traditional bridalwear. The result? Gowns that are equal parts regal and refined. "Verdin Bridal is designed to dress the bride with confidence, beauty and elegance," Guzmán shares. "The Verdin bride is refined, modern and wants to look her best in her special day."
"Our work aims to redefine the New Feminine," Carmen Llaguno tells Brides. "Romantic, ethereal, and at times, badass. We're creating beautifully rich yet minimalist pieces that light up the room—subtle drama, timelessly feminine with an edge. Simplicity made with exceptional attention to detail for the avid socialite or the coolest bride."
Another brand pillar? Sustainable production. "By taking a philanthropic approach to the production of our products, we created a hyperlocal manufacturing system for our garments in which we collaborate with local manufacturers and artisans in México to create beautiful luxury pieces that are not only unique but made out of the finest materials."
The Carmen Llaguno Bride:
"We design for women who embrace the classics and the idea that clothes are made to last forever," Llaguno shares. With pieces that exude femininity and a conscious production ethos, Llaguno designs for brides in pursuit of something "timeless and classic with a subtle dash of wild."
Having grown up in his mother's atelier in Venezuela, Angel Sanchez developed an appreciation for design at an early age. After studying and pursuing a career in architecture, Sanchez returned to his roots with a line of architecturally inspired gowns that bring a contemporary element to classic couture. Today, he's a CFDA member based in New York City.
The Angel Sanchez Bride:
With gowns that bridge the gap between edgy and ultra-feminine, Angel Sanchez gowns are ideal for brides interested in a statement-making look that will never go out of style. Though there is a dainty, whimsical element to his designs, Sanchez's gowns are best-suited for risk-takers who set out to step away from cookie-cutter bridal looks and wear something a cut above the rest.
Jorge Manuel has always been a fixture in Miami's wedding scene. He began planning weddings at 15, launched an event company at 16, and designed his first wedding gown at 17. According to his site, Manuel's designs "juxtapose Caribbean flair with Asian minimalism, cubist designs, and art deco flourishes making for a unique signature touch that is his alone." His distinct interpretation of wedding day glamour comes from growing up in Miami, surrounded by other Cuban-Americans, as well as his long-term expertise in the bridal industry.
The Jorge Manuel Bride:
The beauty of Jorge Manuel's gowns is in the details. For brides who want a wedding day look with an emphasis on intricacy, Manuel's designs will deliver. Meticulously-beaded bodices and skirts, all made in America, make for once-in-a-lifetime looks that will lay the foundation for lifelong memories. “I want to empower women to feel beautiful, not because of what they wear, but because their clothes reflect who they truly are inside,” Manuel highlights on his website.
Edgardo Bonilla's passion for design was sparked during his days as a window dresser in Puerto Rico. Through this experience, he honed his talent for creating eye-catching looks that are striking from afar, without overshadowing or eclipsing a bride's natural beauty. He's currently stocked at Kleinfeld in New York.
The Edgardo Bonilla Bride:
For Edgardo Bonilla brides, standing out on their big day is paramount. With bold pops of color, sultry illusion tops, and imaginative silhouettes, his collection is devoted to gowns that go against the grain.
Wanda Borges is a Brazilian designer. At her São Paolo atelier, she creates gowns designed to be future heirlooms. To drive home the idea of timeless design, she sources vintage lace from around the world to add an element of old-world glamour to each new gown. Additionally, Borges also creates bridal lingerie to make the big day extra special.
The Wanda Borges Bride:
The Wanda Borges bride looks at the full picture. Though her gowns are detail-driven, she is known for creating well-rounded looks, from dainty lingerie to glamorous gowns. At first glance, it's easy to trace the royal inspiration that goes into each classic design, making it the perfect pick for brides that want their big day to feel extra grand.
Ines Di Santo
With over three decades under her belt designing bridal and evening wear, Ines Di Santo's designs are "fueled by the eternal fantasy of the ‘perfect’ wedding gown," says the brand. "An unapologetic romantic, Ines has built her namesake brand by infusing every wedding gown with the essence of her passion for beauty, love, and desire."
Though you can find her gowns globally, each design is a journey back to Di Santos' own roots. "Inspired by her Italian heritage and upbringing in Buenos Aires, Ines connected to the romance of the art world as a young woman and went on to study fine art and design in Argentina and Italy," the brand explains to BRIDES. "This connection laid the foundation for her expression as a fashion designer. Using the gestures of fine art as a catalyst, she brought her art, Ines Di Santo bridal, to life in glamorous, feminine glory."
The Ines Di Santo Bride:
According to the designer, "Ines Di Santo brides follow their heart and are in-tune with their limitless feminine energy." To master the art of designing gowns that looks glamorous but still feel natural, Ines Di Santo takes a cue from their brides, who they describe as "modern day goddesses in their own right and are most deserving in feeling their most beautiful self on their special day. My creations are a pure reflection of them."
Cuban-born, Lazaro Perez always took pleasure in drawing, painting, and realizing the ideas that once only existed in his imagination. His natural talent, cultivated while helping his mother make their family’s clothing, was recognized in 1981 when he was awarded “Best New Bridal Designer” in a national competition, while still a student at the Ray College of Design in Chicago.
“The evolution of Lazaro [brand] has been very organic. The beauty of starting my career as a pattern maker is the level of expertise and meticulous attention to detail that comes with making each dress," shares the designer in a statement. "Every season I try to incorporate something from the Spanish culture and there are definitely a few gowns that I get emotionally connected to. One dress that I feel epitomizes my aesthetic is the Olivia gown. It’s hand-embroidered with a three-dimensional petal appliqué and a detachable overskirt. I just love it”
The Lazaro Bride:
The Lazaro bride is a very sophisticated, fashion-savvy bride who understands fine fabrics. "I want to bring out the inner beauty of all my brides. This is one of the most special days of their life and it’s a real privilege to be a part of it," the designer tells Brides.
Nadia Manjarrez Studio Bridal
Born and raised in Mexico, Nadia Manjarrez got her first taste of fashion by watching her mother design clothes for her and her three siblings. After learning how to sew at the age of six, Manjarrez continued to hone her skills, later receiving a degree in Fashion and Textile Design from the University of Monterrey. She has worked with luxury brands such as Badgley Mischka, Marchesa, Cushnie et Ochs, and David Meister, and in 2020 launched her eponymous bridal label Nadia Manjarrez Studio Bridal.
Today, Nadia Manjarrez Studio Bridal is a Mexican-based brand that "offers versatile, modular, and customizable gowns that seamlessly transition the bride from ceremony to reception. Seeking to empower women in her community, Nadia exclusively employs Mexican female heads of households to make each one of her designs," as noted by the brand.
The Nadia Manjarrez Studio Bride:
Manjarrez tells Brides, "The Nadia Manjarrez Studio Bridal Bride is looking for something classic with a modern twist. She envisions a dramatic look for her entrance, but also wants something comfortable and versatile enough that will allow her to dance the night away. She values individuality and the ability to truly make the look her own, while at the same time she appreciates and supports the craftsmanship and talent of the incredible Mexican women who hand-make each of our gowns."