Boutique owner-cheerleader wins toilet paper wedding dress competition in New York

Model Jewel Howard of Iowa presents a creation named 'Jubilee' by designer Julie Hass during the 10th annual toilet paper wedding dress contest in Midtown, New York June 12, 2014.  Credit: Reuters
Model Jewel Howard of Iowa presents a creation named ‘Jubilee’ by designer Julie Hass during the 10th annual toilet paper wedding dress contest in Midtown, New York June 12, 2014.
Credit: Reuters

There was something old, something new, something borrowed and something double-ply for 10 designers who battled it out on Thursday for $10,000 and the top prize in the 10th annual toilet paper wedding dress contest held in New York City.

The elaborate gowns, headpieces, purses and lacey veils showed off at the competition could be made of nothing but rolls of Charmin Ultra Soft toilet paper, and materials like glue, tape and thread, organizers of the event by Cheap-Chic-Weddings.com said.

“I am blown away,” said Kate Pankoke, a contest judge who also owns Elaya Vaughn Bridal and was a contestant on seasons 11 and 12 of the reality television show Project Runway.

“It’s really impressive what they can get toilet paper to do,” she said.

The gowns – some long and flowing and others cut off above the knees – were adorned with intricate toilet paper pearls and flowers.

The winning dress, named Romance on a Roll and crafted by 28-year-old Susan Brennan of Orchard Lake, Michigan, took some 20 rolls to craft.

The ornate, full-length gown was dotted with complex floral and lace designs, and could be detached at the waist to reveal a 1920′s flapper-inspired dance dress underneath.

It took a month of work, said Brennan, who co-owns the online boutique Fare Oak and is a professional cheerleader for the Detroit Pistons.

“There was toilet paper everywhere,” she said.

But the work was well worth it for the three-time winner, with her dress earning the $10,000 prize.

“It’s not even fully hit me yet,” Brennan said. “I’m just ecstatic.”

Laura Gawne and Susan Bain started the contest a decade ago as a way to promote their website, Cheap-Chic-Weddings.com. Initially they received just a handful of submissions, but 10 years later the pair had to sort through 1,491 entrants to crown a winner.

“The bar has risen every year,” Gawne said. “This contest has just taken on a life of its own.”

The contest, complete with a runway judging, was held on the rooftop balcony of the Sanctuary Hotel in Manhattan and was sponsored by Procter & Gamble’s Charmin toilet paper.



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