The Transformers: Saukok Chu Tiampo and Carmen Ho, founders of the 57Grand bridal label and showroom (250 W. 39th St., nr. Eighth Ave., Ste. 804; 212-302-1604; 57grand.com)
Challenge 1: Make a plain gown glamorous.
Dress No. 1: Ann Taylor Olivia open-back gown, $550, at anntaylor.com.
The Transformation: 57Grand tweaked Ann Taylor’s chic but basic column gown by converting the bateau neckline into a V-neck, replacing the high keyhole back with a low double tie, and incorporating godets—triangles of fabric—to create volume. The duo also added a removable belt with stitched magnolia flowers in silver and gold thread, lending a hint of shine to the formerly matte gown. “This is perfect for New York because it’s dramatic,” says Tiampo, “but the bride can still get in and out of a cab in it.”
Total cost, with alterations: $1,000
Challenge 2: Make a short dress long.
Dress No. 2: David’s Bridal Two-In-One sweetheart strapless organza gown, $599, at David’s Bridal (751 Sixth Ave., nr. 25th St.; 646-827-4050).
The Transformation: The team achieved this Victorian-inspired look by pinning up the original overlay, adding tulle below, and individually tufting those pieces to give it a modern feel. While the designers decided to keep the original taffeta waistband, they sheared off the ruched-satin layer of the bodice and, in its place, attached vertically ruched tulle and a delicate shoulder strap fashioned from gathered tulle. Says Tiampo of the final incarnation, “When she’s walking down the aisle [in this], no one will come close to her star power.”
Total cost, with alterations: $4,400