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EXCLUSIVE Q&A WITH PNINA TORNAI

Exclusive Q&A with Pnina Tornai
Written by Christina Rowan

Our inside scoop on the latest LOVE collection by Pnina Tornai

The “Queen of Bling” on TLC’s Say Yes to the Dress may be known internationally for dressing brides and celebrities the world over in crystals from head-to-toe, but as her latest collection suggests, her sights are set on pleasing a wider audience with an array of budget-friendly gowns. Here, we go beyond the bling to discuss shopping advice, the people that inspire her and what’s to come in the future.

Q: For your 2018 LOVE collection, you let the love that surrounds you each day guide you in the design process. What type of fabrics, motifs and shapes inspired it? Tell us about the goal of this collection.

A: My LOVE by Pnina Tornai Collection is my way of giving love to all of my brides who have shown me so much support and kindness over the years. I truly wanted this collection to have a gown for every kind of bride: the red carpet bride, the classic bride, the princess bride, the sexy bride, and the fashionista bride. I took the most popular silhouettes from my couture collections over the years and used them as the inspiration for my 2018 collection. This collection features micro-sequin fabrics that give a bright shimmer, illusion details, the crystal embroidery that I’m known for (they do call me the Queen of Bling), and unique laces that I searched the world for. This collection is for all of the brides who always dreamed of being a Pnina Bride, but felt restricted because of their budget. I’m so happy that I can make more dreams come true.

Q: In the past you’ve used the desert, the skyline of New York and the grounds of a mansion as the setting for your campaign. Tell us about the setting you chose for your 2018 collection. What made you choose it?

A: I chose to shoot this collection on the beach in Israel because it is a place that gives me so much peace and happiness and it is a place where I spend time with the ones that I love. We decided that the concept of the shoot would be a behind-the-scenes look of a model in the middle of a beach photo shoot. I believe that all of my brides are celebrities and should feel like the star of the show when they wear one of my gowns. Your wedding day is one of the only times that you will have that much attention placed on you and you should feel your best the entire day.

Q: You meet hundreds of brides each year. What advice do you usually give them when it comes to shopping and customizing their gown? What question do they ask you the most?

A: I always tell my brides that the process should be fun! To keep the appointment stress free, I always recommend bringing a small group of people who you trust. More people often means more opinions, and your gown shopping process can become overwhelming. Another top tip I have is to keep an open mind. So many of my brides have a vision of what they thought they were going to wear, and then they end up wearing the exact opposite! As long as you feel amazing in your gown, that is all that matters. As for a question I get asked the most, I would say that many brides ask my opinion on what silhouette they should purchase. Since I’ve been designing and dressing brides for over 25 years, they trust me to tell them if a gown is flattering or if they should try a different silhouette.

Q: We know you’ve been asked this a million times, but just for our record, when did you discover designing was your passion?

A: As a child, I would draw Victorian ball gowns on the walls of my house and cut up my mother’s tablecloths to make clothes, but it wasn’t until much later in life that I realized that designing was my calling. In fact, I always wanted to be an actress, which is something I still do and enjoy very much! During a difficult time in my life during my 20s, I had a dream that wedding gowns were falling from the sky. I could see all of the details so vividly and when I woke up, I knew this is what I was supposed to do. The rest is history!

Q: You’ve said that many of your designs come to you while you dream. Have you ever dreamed a design that you didn’t get the chance to create? If so, what was it like?

A: I am happily able to say that I have created all of the gowns that I’ve dreamed about. They don’t always come to fruition right away, but this is the reason why I don’t work in collections only. I am known for sending dresses at random to my boutique manager at the Pnina Tornai Boutique at Kleinfeld Bridal. If I see it in my dreams, I need to create it! I will say, however, that not all of the designs I create for my collection for New York Bridal Fashion Week make it to the runway. My show would be hours! It’s so hard to choose which gowns to cut from the show, but they still make it onto the sales floor.

Q: Your gowns are carried all over the world, including Canada. Have you had the chance to visit Kleinfeld Hudson’s Bay in Toronto? If so, what was your most memorable visit?

A: Yes! I usually have a few trunk shows a year at Kleinfeld Hudson’s Bay. I would have to say my most memorable visit was the first one. I was and still am so amazed by how beautiful the store is and how kind the staff is. And during my off time, I have way too much fun shopping!

Q: Over the last 10 years at Kleinfeld Bridal in New York, you’ve earned your spot as the top seller along with the store’s only designer shop-in-shop where you offer shoes, headpieces, jewellery and a perfume designed by you. What would you say is the next step you hope to take in the bridal fashion world?

A: I am happy to say that I did launch the Pnina Tornai Evening Couture line, which can be purchased for mother of the bride, mother of the groom, or bridesmaids. Other than that, I can’t give away any secrets, but stay tuned! I always show my followers what I’m up to on my Instagram, @pninatornai.

Q: Last but not least, tell us about the dress you are the most proud of.

A: It’s so difficult to choose because all of my gowns are like my children. But if I had to pick one gown, I would have to say style 4019. It isn’t my most over-the-top gown, but it has made so many brides happy over the years. I have eight-year-old girls tell me that this is the gown they want to get married in in 20 years, and then I have 30-year-old brides tell me that they saw this gown ten years ago and they are so happy to finally try it on and walk down the aisle wearing it. When people hear the name “Pnina Tornai” this is the dress that always comes to mind.

As seen in the Winter/Spring 2018 Toronto issue of Elegant Wedding Magazine

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Exclusive Q&A with Pnina Tornai


Written by Christina Rowan