1. Christian Siriano (Season 4 Winner): Christian Siriano is definitely my favorite pint-sized diva and the sole reason I now can’t stop saying the phrase ‘hot mess.’ Since being vaulted into fame after Project Runway Siriano went on to start his own label in 2008 which was so successful he earned a spot on Crain’s Top 40 Entrepreneurs Under 40 list. While many of the dresses in this collection are from his seasonal shows, they certainly work as bridal gowns (seriously – just look at that first lavender one!) and he creates custom wedding dresses for lucky brides around the world.
2. Heidi Elnora (Season 2): Even though she was one of the first contestants out on Season 2, Heidi Elnora Standridge has gone on to produce successful bridal lines since opening her own shop in 2006. Her dresses have been featured in major magazines such as Weddings Unveiled and Southern Weddings Magazine and her 2013 line is simply gorgeous! It was a chocolate-colored trim that got her booted but since then Elnora has used trim and details to make her bridal line a massive success.
3. Carol Hannah (Season 6): Carol Hannah Whitfield has created arguably the most successful and well-known bridal line of all the Project Runway contestants. She made it all the way to NYC Fashion week on her season but (unfairly!) came in third. While many of the other designers produce fashion lines, Carol Hannah focuses solely on bridal and bridesmaids looks. She launched her label in 2010 to rave reviews and this South Carolina native has been producing gorgeous gowns ever since. Her newest collection is absolutely amazing and it wouldn’t surprise me if you’re already familiar with many of these gowns – I’ve got one in this salmon and washed teal inspiration board!
4. Austin Scarlet (Season 1 & Project Runway All-Stars): Austin Scarlet is one of the reasons I fell in love with Project Runway. He was just such a colorful character and he won my heart with that corn husk dress he made for the unconventional challenge. I’ll never forget it. In 2006 after Project Runway he joined Amsale as the creative director of its Kenneth Pool luxury gown collection and was there until 2009. He now continues to produce stunning bridal wear under his own name!
5. Leanne Marshall (Season 5 Winner): Leanne Marshall is another favorite of mine and you can see one of her gorgeous gowns in this mountain mist wedding inspiration board. Leanne Marshall made it all the way to the finals in Season 5 and won with a stunning wave inspired collection. This quirky Portland gal has been producing gorgeous looks ever since and has even designed a series of dresses for Paula Abdul and a maternity dress for Heidi Klum. Her beautiful bridal gowns are made-to-order and any bride would be lucky to waltz down the aisle in one of them!
6. Rami Kashou (Season 4 & Project Runway All-Stars): Rami Kashou lost his season to Christian Siriano (see #1) but this Jerusalem born designer has found success since. He is known for his ground breaking one-of-a-kind designs and his runway shows are always attended by A list celebrities. While Rami Kashou is most well-known for his red carpet looks that have graced the backs of starlets such as Penelope Cruz, Heidi Klum, and Jennifer Lopez, his bridal line has some absolutely stunning looks for trendy modern brides!
7. Kate Pankoke aka: Elaya Vaugbn (Season 11): Chicago based bridal label Elaya Vaugbn was started in 2010 by this season’s current Project Runway contestant Kate Pankoke. She got engaged last December to her high school sweetheart and I can’t wait to see what she designs for herself to wear! Her favorite material to work with is satin-faced organza and her attention to detail is what makes her designs special. I’m really hoping that Kate makes it far long this season to gain some more publicity for her bridal line!
8. Andy South (Season 8): I actually have had the pleasure of meeting (< when you get to that post look at #6) Andy South (who goes by Ariyaphon Southiphong) at the opening of South’s design studio since we both live in Hawaii. If you ever find yourself out this way – I highly recommend paying a visit to this gorgeous atelier in Chinatown – a prettier space would be hard to find. Along with a whole array of chic clothing, Andy South produces custom-made one-of-a-kind gowns for brides and they are simply gorgeous!
9. Chloe Dao (Season 2 Winner) Lot 8 (now called DAO Chloe DAO) is a little boutique right around the corner from where I went to college in Houston, Texas and I used to walk over there and purchase things every now and then but it wasn’t until owner and super cutie Chloe Dao became famous on Project Runway that this charming store really took off. Dao’s designs are known for their effortless combination of sophistication, style, and comfort, and her bridal line is simply amazing! Better still – she’s constantly looking for ways to give back to the community and has spoken at Girl Scout events and produced pieces for breast cancer awareness.
So, which of these Project Runway Stars is your favorite?