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Best in toilet paper couture

Designers make elaborate, embellished wedding gowns of the thinnest paper, and they look like the real thing

By Nancy Arcayna

LAST UPDATED: 7:58 p.m. HST, Oct 13, 2013

No silk, satin or lace was required for the wedding gowns featured at Kahala Mall's "The Bridal Event."

Designers instead used toilet paper and a few simple supplies to create gowns that — at first glance — looked like the real deal, nothing like typical toilet-paper dresses made for bridal shower games.

Each contestant in the Sept. 28 Toilet Paper Wedding Dress Design Contest was given 12 rolls of toilet paper, safety pins, tacky glue, two-way tape, blue ribbon and a basic sewing kit. No other supplies or tools were allowed.

Dresses were created by teams of one to four people in a two-hour time frame and were judged on creativity and originality. The entries needed to be wearable by an adult model or dress form.

The contest was sponsored by Kahala Mall and Hawaii Bride and Groom Magazine.

Mariko Giorgio and her mother, Lyra, took first place, winning $250 in Kahala Mall gift certificates.

Their strapless gown with ruffled skirt was paired with a headpiece and wristlet embellished with rosettes and ribbons. An oversized bow was placed at the waistline in the back.

"My mom helped by making the ruffles," Giorgio said. "The toilet paper was folded in a zigzag pattern, like a fan. We used a needle and thread to hold it together."

The bottom of the dress was layered, she said, "the same way you'd lay a roof."

The first 90 minutes were used to prep the materials. "I was so stressed putting everything together during the last half hour. The small details really add up. Everything came together in the end, so I was satisfied."

Arian Aragaki and Pualei Mookini-Oliveira took second place, $150 in Kahala Mall gift certificates.

Their dress had a floral bodice. "I got the idea from the elementary school art project where you put tissue on the end of a pencil and attached it with glue," Aragaki said.

"We wanted to make it a long dress, so we wrapped the model first," she said.

Then they attached pieces of toilet paper that flowed downward, creating a layered look that appeared like a single piece. "We rolled the bottom underneath to provide some texture."

Limited supplies weren't a problem, Aragaki said. "We used some glue and a few pieces of tape."

Mireille McGinty won third prize, $75 in mall gift certificates.

Spring couture is how she described her gown.

"Every bride deserves a fantasy," McGinty said. "I wanted to design it like a fairy tale, so I included a queen-like collar and roses around the neck. I wanted it to be simple and elegant."

The back of the dress featured a long, split train.

She said the perforations in the toilet paper made it hard to wrap the bodice, so she glued the pieces together before wrapping the mannequin so the appearance was similar to fabric.

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