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Not Your Mama's Bridal Shop: Echo Park Boutique Stocks Vintage, Eclectic And Custom-Made Dresses

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By Maddy Keavy

With the rise of DIY sites like Pinterest and Etsy, brides-to-be are taking a new, more individualized approach to their special day with non-traditional bridal gowns. BRIDE Boutique is capitalizing on this trend with a location in Echo Park that opens today.

The boutique is not competing with the kind of traditional shops you might find in Beverly Hills: there are vintage dresses, gowns by indie designers and custom-made bridal wear by owner and shop curator, Maria Luciana Diaz. Diaz has carved out a niche for such clientele. The phrase "non-traditional" is subjective, but she says, "[Non-traditional] pieces are unique and rare; shorter dresses, colored dresses or dresses made from recycled fabrics."

An eclectic-chic fashionista herself, Diaz has created a forward and timely boutique catering to the elegant but price-savvy bride. BRIDE prides itself on helping brides find a personalized fashion, and prices range from high-end designer dresses that cost $2,000 to vintage gowns under $100.

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BRIDE Boutique provides brides-to-be with personalized service, one-on-one consultations and fittings in a comfortable studio setting. Diaz believes this personalized service that distinguishes BRIDE from other bridal shops. She said, "If I don't have something that works for [the brides], then I work with them to create a customized piece, redesign an existing piece, or sometimes continue looking for a dress that might—and updating the client when I find something I think they might like."

Diaz's boutique is low-key. She says brides-to-be should feel as though they are hanging out with friends—and just happen to be trying on dresses.

Designers featured in BRIDE are hand-picked for their unique design and quality but also affordability. Though Diaz is looking to expand to feature more local designers, she found many of the designers on Etsy, including Holly Stalder and The Peppermint Pretty.

Diaz, a graduate of UCLA with a degree in Art History and Theater, spent much of her time in college in the theater costume department. Experience with avant-garde pieces and fashion shows gave her the foundation to begin her own shop. One year ago she began BRIDE as an in-home boutique, but the Echo Park storefront opening today is the first time she'll have a brick-and-mortar location.

Diaz's long-time friend Gia LaRussa sees the transition into a full-fledged boutique owner and designer as a logical progression for Diaz. LaRussa said, "I always knew that she was going to be a fashion designer. She was always making really beautiful covetable clothes that people would ask where they were from."

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BRIDE is open to the public, starting today, and every Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Appointments can be made to come in at other times by calling (909) 684-6451 or by emailing info@brideboutiquela.com. It is located at 1282 W Sunset Boulevard in Echo Park.