To the Point With Bridal Designer Pnina Tornai

Bridal Designer Pnina Tornai

The Say Yes to the Dress mainstay lets us in on her bridal wear secrets.

Famed for her illusion corsets and OTT ball gowns, Israeli designer Pnina Tornai is the go-to for many brides. After serving in the military, Tornai went to Paris to pursue an acting career. Returning home after ten years, Tornai opened a small boutique and only turned her focus to bridal in 1992 after one patron’s custom gown landed on the front page of a major Israeli newspaper. Since then, Tornai has parlayed her gorgeous aesthetic into a world-renowned brand and the top seller at Kleinfeld bridal in New York, where she has the store’s only designer shop-in-shop.

Wedding season is in full swing, so we talked to the television personality about her latest collection, where she sees bridal trends going in 2018 and her top tips for wedding dress shopping.

For the Pnina Tornai label, what were the biggest trends in bridal for 2017? Where is bridal going in 2018?
For 2017, my Dimensions Collection focused on long dramatic trains, textured skirts, laser cut lace, fishnet, and body bling! All of these elements bring modern touches to my designs. Body bling continues to be incorporated into my designs because it adds sexiness and sparkle in a unique way. I also love lace for any bride, but decided to make it modern by using a laser cut pattern. It gives a beautiful dimension to the gown, especially when placed over a nude lining. My favourite trend, however, is the fishnet. I opened my show with a fully beaded fishnet gown with a crystal embroidered sheer back and the entire room gasped.

For 2018, I think that ball gowns are definitely making a comeback! I also think we are going to see a lot of ruffled or textured skirts, and maybe even some colour other than blush. As for my 2018 couture collection, you’ll just have to wait and see!

What do you recommend brides focus on when picking a wedding dress? Should they look at their personal style? Body type? Budget? And why? Is there anything else they should consider?
I think that above all, brides should focus on their body type when picking a gown. You want to look and feel your best and should pick a gown that showcases your favourite parts of your body while minimizing any trouble spots. I believe that fit is one of the most important elements of a gown. First find the silhouette that looks the best on you, and then factor in all of the other elements. Another thing I think that the bride should consider is who she brings with her to the appointment. You want to make sure you bring a small group of people who have your best interests at heart and who are honest. More opinions often mean more confusion, and buying your dream gown should be a fun and happy moment.

Where do you look for inspiration for each collection?
My inspiration comes from many places, but mostly my dreams and my amazing brides. I always keep a sketchpad next to my bed so that when I wake up after dreaming of a gown I can make note of all of the details. As for my brides, they are all unique and I listen to what they love about my gowns (or what they would like to change) and try to incorporate that into my future designs. Many of the custom gowns I design for my brides end up becoming samples. All of the other brides-to-be see the photos on my Instagram, @PninaTornai, and want the custom gown, so then I have to make it available.

Is there a Pnina Tornai woman? And what would she be like?
The Pnina Tornai woman is confident in herself and is fashion forward. She loves experimenting with her style and likes to stand out from the crowd. But most of all, she wants to feel her most beautiful on her wedding day!

Where do you source your fabrics from? How important is fabrication in your design process?
I travel around the world to source my fabrics, from Paris to India. Fabrics are so important in my design process. A single embellishment or piece of lace can inspire an entire gown. I always try to find unique fabrics to bring something fresh to a classic silhouette. Also, I’m known as the Queen Of Bling, so I love finding new beaded appliqués and unique crystal embellishments to add to my designs.

Pnina Tornai is available at Kleinfeld Hudson’s Bay, located in Hudson’s Bay Queen Street.