He no longer designs or sells, yet in the wedding gown business, Randy Fenoli of “Say Yes come the Dress” top top the TLC cable network has end up being a little of a absent star. When Mr. Fenoli is in town, women, children and families seek him the end to take it photos through him or just to listen his always cheerful greeting, “Hello, beautiful.”
Open faced and also immediately disarming, that bounds approximately those he encounters with this welcome. Numerous who have operated with him say the there is no one much better at making any type of woman feel special.
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In the course of his 13 periods with the show, Mr. Fenoli has actually helped take the program and Kleinfeld Bridal, the Manhattan store that is among the show’s locations, to viewers in 130 countries. (The show is also shot in Atlanta and also other cities.)
Viewers are frequently riveted as the featured bride and also the team she has in tow wring your hands and also yell their approval or not say of some of the costume she do the efforts on. At the finish of the process, the bride, because that whom the stakes deserve to be no higher, must feel beautiful in the dress of she choice. I m sorry is whereby Mr. Fenoli, 51, come in.
He’s a “bridal gown whisperer,” stated Samantha Press, a 25-year-old brand-new Yorker and a regular viewer of the show.
Perhaps that is some prewedding sleight-of-hand, but Mr. Fenoli never actively steers the mrs to one dress or another. Return he once was the design director in ~ Kleinfeld, he no longer works because that the store, and also he assures all that ask the he has actually no vested attention in whether the bride choose a big-ticket items or a much less expensive one. Because that him, the choice has to it is in what makes a woman feel gorgeous and fits her budget.
“He is an excellent at discerning the dynamics that the family,” stated Robert Verdi, a brand-new York fashion stylist who had actually a present called “Brides gone Styled” top top TLC. “He is expert at negotiating the territory. He’s choose Switzerland: neutral.”
As every bride shops, Mr. Fenoli stand by her side, acting together her advocate and also adviser. He’s part therapist and part style guide.
“Randy is a phenomenon,” stated Darcy Miller, the editorial manager of Martha Stewart Weddings. “He has a huge personality and also a passion for what that does.”
On one afternoon in August, TLC’s cameras were rolling in ~ Kleinfeld Bridal, following Brittany Salvatore, 27. The an initial dress she fell in love with immediately elicited sneers from she grandmother, who declared that it looked favor a nightgown. Then she father entered the fray, urging she to shot on a $16,000 dress, i beg your pardon led her mom to step in to repeat them the the optimal of their budget was $5,000.
During the kerfuffle among Ms. Salvatore’s family, Mr. Fenoli speak quietly and also calmly come the bride — and also to she entourage.
“Let’s keep these costume in mental and shot on some more,” that told them. “I have pulled others to look at at.”
And that had. After a couple of hours through Ms. Salvatore going in and also out of the dressing room and also trying on plenty of styles, Mr. Fenoli had the ability to finesse the instance to a happy finishing without violation anyone or insinuating his own taste into the decision.
“If did you do it ever remained in therapy, you recognize the process,” the said. “A therapist doesn’t tell girlfriend what come do, and also I nothing tell the brides what to do. I overview them.”
It’s constantly up to the bride to select the dress she loves, he said. After many were examined by Ms. Salvatore — organdy round gowns, brief frocks through boned bodices and more — somehow, organically, it happened. Just then did Mr. Fenoli asking his famous question, one that has by now gone into the American colloquial lexicon:
“Are you speak yes to the dress?”
“Yes!” she answered through conviction.
Everyone cheered, clapped, hugged and kissed. The stress vanished. The family left happy. Mr. Fenoli to be on come his following project.
Randy Fenoli is a “bridal gown whisperer,” follow to one continual viewer that “Say Yes to the Dress."Credit...Hilary Swift/The brand-new York Times
How walk he carry out his magic?
“He has actually a routine and also a recipe the works, a good formula and template,” Mr. Verdi said. “The present is fun to watch. The popcorn TV: fun, fluffy and informative.”
Not surprisingly, Mr. Fenoli has actually a wide following, from young girls to grandmothers.
“He appears so sincere and also puts heart right into tradition,” stated Ms. Press, who has watched the show due to the fact that she to be a young teenager, even though she has actually no prospective groom in sight.
Lilah Rousso, a 13-year-old pan in London, had a visit come Kleinfeld’s in Chelsea on her to-do list on a recent expedition to new York v her parents. She was hoping to watch Mr. Fenoli, yet he was no there the day and she left disappointed.
“I’ve watched the display for two years,” she claimed in a telephone interview. “He appears so nice and never lets a bride leaving unhappy.”
Ellie Kirke, left, Brittany Salvatore and also Randy Fenoli film an episode of TLC"s "Say Yes to the Dress" on Tuesday in ~ Kleinfeld Bridal in Manhattan.Credit...Hilary Swift/The new York Times
But the road to stardom has been winding. Mr. Fenoli stated he owes much of his success with brides to his own previous career as a mrs impersonator named Brandi Alexander: doing his very own hair and also makeup and designing and sewing his own dresses. In doing so, he stated he learned what the feels favor to transform oneself into a beautiful bride.
In 1990, his Brandi character won the miss out on Gay America pageant. Mr. Fenoli then offered his compensation money come jump-start his research studies at the Fashion academy of Technology, whereby he honed his an abilities as a designer and also learned the business. He climate went on to style bridal undertake in the 1990s because that Paul Diamond, that owned the Diamond Collection.
It was Mr. Diamond’s wife, Vivian, who found Mr. Fenoli once she was judging a college student competition at the fashion institute.
“I essential a new designer at my company, and also based top top what mine wife saw at the school, we hired Randy right out of the contest,” Mr. Diamond said.
“Before Vera Wang, prior to Amsale, bridal gowns were all the same,” the said. “There were just a few styles, many with long sleeves, long trains and also appliqués.”
Mr. Fenoli’s an initial collection contained a halter top, which helped put the young designer on the map.
“We go a trunk show with his first gowns at Kleinfeld’s when it was still in Brooklyn, and also from over there Randy’s line exploded,” Mr. Diamond said.
But then Mr. Fenoli left brand-new York come sell genuine estate in new Orleans. The pressure of coming up through a brand-new line each season had burned him out, claimed Mr. Diamond, who included that deep under he had constantly thought Mr. Fenoli was more of a stylist 보다 a designer.
“He’s one entertainer, an unbelievable personality,” Mr. Diamond said. “He is an extremely believable. He has a means about him that draws girlfriend in immediately. He’s no a con artist and also he’s no a put-on. He is the best salesman I’ve ever before met.”
After Hurricane Katrina, Mr. Fenoli want to come earlier to new York. At about the very same time, Kleinfeld Bridal relocated from that is original ar in Brooklyn come Manhattan and also needed a fashion director.
Ronald Rothstein, one owner that the store, carried Mr. Fenoli in. Recalling Mr. Fenoli’s an initial appearance ~ above the marketing floor, Mr. Rothstein said, “It was favor the pope had walked in.” also though Mr. Fenoli had actually been missing from brand-new York for some years, his client remembered him.
“He to know the bride, the mother love him,” Mr. Rothstein said. “He could customize a gown, he can sketch. His eye is unique.”
Now, Mr. Fenoli is an independent contractor who also makes an individual appearances in ~ bridal shows and in salons in plenty of countries.
“Why should I job-related for someone else in a full time job as soon as I deserve to earn $20,000 because that a four-hour an individual appearance?” the said.
He has just returned from Denmark, England and the Netherlands; in Amsterdam, that said, some 3,000 world lined increase to meet him and also have your photographs taken v him end the course of 2 days.
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What does the think are the current trends in bridal gowns and also veils?
“Today it’s everything suits the bride,” the said. “It’s around her vision. Part women want to stay a gown with outside bones, a corset look. Others want halter tops or slips. Some are still traditional. However there’s everything from boho to ball gowns.”
A gown needs to suit a bride’s personality. If “younger females still desire to look choose princesses,” he stated that “sexy is in, for the fiancé’s delight: low-cut, see-through, mirroring off the curves.”
As because that veils, blushers, i m sorry cover the face, room not viewed too regularly today. Mr. Fenoli go not like them, but does love a lengthy veil attached low on the earlier of the head. “It’s therefore ethereal,” he said.