Fit for a princess: Houston designer makes quinceañera dreams come true

HOUSTON, TX -- For many Latina girls, a quinceañera is a time-honored tradition, marking the passage of an adolescent girl to a young woman on her 15th birthday. At the centerpiece of every quinceañera is a princess-like gown.

Houston designer Tomas Benitez creates some of the most elaborate quinceañera gowns in the world, each one cut from a meticulously-drawn pattern. No two dresses are the same, and each is designed specifically to fit a customer's vision.

While many of Benitez's designs sell for thousands of dollars, he's also known for giving away dresses to families who don't always have the means to buy one. His Gulfton-area store gives away at least three quinceañera gowns every year.

"Before my customers come and see the dress, I have to check every detail of the dress and make sure it's how my customer is expecting it," said Benitez. "I know how important it is for them. For me, it's an honor that people come and decide to spend their money in my boutique because I know that they have been saving for a long time for this moment."

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