Right now is a heavy wedding planning time for brides-to-be. I had the honor of chatting with Rani Totman, president and designer of St. Pucchi, a bridal collection she launched in 1985.
Rani grew up in Thailand, and her parents owned one of the largest purveyors of fine lace. After receiving a degree in English literature, Rani went against her parents' wishes and went in to the fashion business with no formal training. And to say the least, her success is inspiring.
Her gowns are now worn by celebrities such as Tara Reid, Emmy Rossum (my favorite!) and Candice Crawford, and there is little doubt that Rani is ahead of her time. Because of this, I was overjoyed to speak with her about the latest wedding trends.
Fashionista: Let’s talk about bridal trends.
Rani Totman: There are three right now that really stick out to me; color, gowns with sleeves, and cut-outs with sheer and nude. The color trend started with just a few pops, a sash, colored shoes, etc. Now we are seeing full gowns in color, from blushes to apricots! I was born and raised in Thailand where it’s customary to marry wearing a bright pink gown, so I’m naturally drawn to colors other than the traditional white wedding dress.
And gowns with sleeves are not the type we think of from the 80’s. They are very elegant. For so long everyone wore sleeveless gowns, which is great for dancing. Fashion goes through cycles, and generally it likes to make a 180 from the past trend. Once everyone got sick of seeing strapless gowns, gowns with sleeves became a refreshing sight.
For cut outs, whether it’s a low back with nude/sheer covering, or a high slit, it’s definitely becoming popular. Always keep in mind that it should be classy, and never show too much. Marriage is such a sacred affair.
F: Who was the first celebrity to wear one of your wedding gowns, and how did you feel when you found out?
RT: The first was Ray Liotta from Goodfellas and his wife Michelle. They flew me to Beverly Hills and I had a team in Bangkok get everything ready, all the way down to the jewelry. Celebrities are just like the rest of us when it comes to weddings; they want to feel special and they want someone to take care of them. I’ve had such sweet and wonderful experiences.
F: Any wedding style trends that haven’t surfaced yet that you’d like to see in the future?
RT: I just launched a collection called The Short Story. I think it’s sad that most wedding dresses are only worn once. Even if we think a future generation may wear the dress, style changes so much that it usually doesn’t happen. Why not have a wedding dress that is convertible?
In my Short Story collection, there are shorter, less traditional dresses, and ones that come with a full length skirt or train that detaches. We see on the red carpet that celebrities wearing white gowns has become very popular. It’s a shame wedding dresses almost always stay in the closet. I’d like to change that.
The Dorothy Gown
F: Can you give any advice to aspiring designers?
RT: You can go to school and learn, but if your heart is not in it, it will not work. I never went to design school, but because the passion was there, I was able to make something of it. If you have the passion, then this is your calling, and you should never let anyone tell you otherwise.
Before we said out goodbye’s, Rani asked if I was married, and what I had done with my dress.
F: Well, I actually framed my dress and it’s hanging up. So I get to see it every day.
RT: Oh! How wonderful. One of my clients, Adrienne Maloof ("Real Housewives of Beverly Hills") did just that, it’s a wonderful idea!
Maloof's framed dress from Bravo's "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills."
You can see more of Rani’s St. Pucchi wedding collection here.