As fashion director at Manhattan’s Kleinfeld Bridal salon, Randy Fenoli is an expert on veils, bustles and other little details of big-day wear. He’s also the unofficial star of TLC’s “Say Yes to the Dress,” on which he helps women pick the white, fluffy dresses of their dreams. Before working in the “I do” industry, he learned the ins and outs of design by making his own costumes when he performed in drag. We talked to him about his new book, “It’s All About the Dress” ($28, Hachette), and about his upcoming show, “Randy to the Rescue.”
You were Miss Gay America in 1990. How did being a female impersonator affect your perspective on wedding dresses?
Female impersonation taught me what it is to put on an article of clothing that you really love, how that feels.
Do you like to go to weddings, or is it awkward to be “that wedding guy”?
I can’t go to a lot of weddings now, unfortunately, because I don’t want to do anything to take away from the bride.
Any favorite, iconic wedding dresses?
My most favorite is Kate Middleton’s. Her dress had to wow, but she didn’t overdo it. It was so tastefully done and timeless. Her bouquet had sweet william, which I thought was very whimsical. My second-favorite was Grace Kelly’s. But that dress was a gift from MGM Studios, so I don’t know how much input she had. The third would be Carolyn Bessette. She wore this simple little silk crepe dress that was really understated.
What do you think about theme weddings?
If it’s a theme that represents the couple, it’s appropriate. In one wedding in my book, she wore fairy wings, and he wore a knight’s uniform. But they met at Marvel Comics and were very into the fantasy world! That was who they were. But there needs to be purpose and reason behind the theme.
What about the trend of having two or three wedding dresses for one bride?
I’m not a fan of it. I think you have one husband, and you have one wedding dress. Why not spend the money on one great dress, where you absolutely say, “This is it”?
What about men? Do they care about their weddings
Men are becoming much more involved in the process. They’re realizing that it’s not just a bride’s wedding; it’s a couple’s.
The new show you’re working on for TLC involves doing pop-up bridal shows in different cities and tooling around in a semitruck full of wedding dresses. Do you get to drive the truck?
I’ve offered to take classes to drive the semitruck. There’s going to be a driver, but I would love to learn to drive a big rig.