A Former 'Say Yes to the Dress' Designer Just Launched His Own Bridal Collection
Randy Fenoli, a fashion director from the TLC favorite, talks Randy Fenoli Bridal.
Photo by dan lecca
It’s hard to imagine a bride-to-be on the planet who isn’t familiar with Randy Fenoli, Kleinfeld’s former fashion director, award-winning designer, and the dashing dandy who’s helped make TLC’s Say Yes to the Dress the huge hit it’s been for 15-plus seasons. We spoke to Fenoli about his new line, Randy Fenoli Bridal.
Is the new line associated with Kleinfeld? No. We’re selling to 70 or 80 countries worldwide. But it will be carried at Kleinfeld.
When and why did you decide to design this collection?
I’ve actually had it in my mind for quite some time, and people have been telling me for years, “Randy, get back to designing.” And I’m like, “You know what? There are too many designers in the marketplace.” However, with those designers, the price points start at $5,000. The more moderate price points are $1,500 and below, so there’s nothing for brides between $1,500 and $3,500 with a designer name. I felt there was a huge void in the market for somebody brides trusted to deliver a couture product with beautiful fabrics, great laces, impeccable embroidery and beading, and amazing fit — with 12-week delivery dates. When I finally got it all in place, I felt that the time was right, so I decided to move forward.
That price point seems to be the sweet spot.
Yeah. Girls often have around $2,000 to spend, and they’ll go to $2,500 or maybe $3,000, but there’s really nothing there with couture detailing and a designer name.
One thing people love about you is your respect for brides of all shapes and sizes.
Are your designs being carried in plus sizes? Yes. I always try to keep curvy girls in mind when designing. Most designers charge extra for anything above a size 16. My collection goes all the way up to a size 28 in the US, and we don’t charge extra.
Wow, that’s a big deal.
It is! How can you tell a bride, “I’m sorry, but we’re gonna have to charge extra because you’re fuller-figured”? Why don’t you just take a knife and stab them in the heart, right? It’s horrible.
What is your favorite part of the design process?
Probably seeing the final product come out as I pictured it. It’s one thing to have a sketch on a piece of paper, but, when you see it on a body, it’s different. Where are the seams going to fall? How long is the train? How does it work in that fabric? Is the cup size correct? There are so many variables — a quarter-inch can make or break a dress. I did 70 designs to get down to the 25 in the collection.
What was your vision for this collection?
I wanted every dress to be different, to speak to a different bride, whether she’s romantic, fashion-forward, sexy, bohemian, whether she wants to be Grace Kelly or Audrey Hepburn or Cinderella, whether she’s having a garden wedding or a beach wedding. I don’t want to just say, “This is my look, and you either like it, or you don’t.”
What do you want brides to know?
I want them to know that I care about them, I really do, and that I wanted to offer them more affordable designs with couture detailing and features that they want. For instance, I do not like pockets in wedding dresses. I think they’re silly. I don’t know what you’re gonna put in your pockets. “Oh, my cellphone!” Who are you gonna call? Everybody’s there! But girls love pockets, so I put pockets in as many dresses as I could. The collection is not about me; it’s about what the brides want.
Please tell us that you’re not leaving Say Yes to the Dress.
Oh no, no, no. I have no plans on leaving. There are provisions in my contract so that if Say Yes to the Dress ever goes off the air, I maintain some kind of TV presence with TLC or one of their other channels. We’ve been going 15 seasons, and it’s doing as great as it ever has.