Why Oh Why Tornai?

You know, there are some designers who just don’t know when to say when. One of these designers is Pnina Tornai. She’s huge on the wedding scene, but I have to say I honestly don’t know why. Oh I’ve seen a few gowns from her that weren’t bad, but that’s the most ringing endorsement I’ve ever felt able to give any of her work.

More of her work looks like this:
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…or like this:
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…or like this:
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She runs to an excess of excess combined with a stripperesque vulgarity rarely witnessed in the world of bridal couture. Do people really wear these gowns in churches? Has a clergyperson ever refused to marry a bride in one of these sheer-belly-with-boning looks? Are there really that many brides who relish the thought of being nearly nude on top and mired down in tens of yards of fabrics on the bottom? And then she drapes on the trims.

I’m a bit of a maximalist myself, but there’s a limit to what works. Tornai goes way beyond that point on a regular basis.

Oh well, at least she sometimes does sleeves.
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She’s even done more than one gown with them.
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12 Responses to “Why Oh Why Tornai?”

  1. Margo November 7, 2009 at 9:10 am #

    How miserable does the second model look? I think the boning is pinching a nerve.

  2. Kate the Bride November 7, 2009 at 10:37 am #

    A woman on last night’s episode of “Say Yes to the Dress” (that show is totally responsible for Tornai, we must hold them responsible) bought a Tornai because she wanted something “dramatic”. At her fitting, she announced she thought she was pregnant. At the wedding, they announced they were definitely pregnant.

  3. Twistie November 7, 2009 at 11:28 am #

    @Margo: I do believe you’re right. In fact, if she turned around, I think we could see precisely where the pinch is. Perhaps that’s why she’s so fond of all that sheer fabric in the bodice?

    @Kate the Bride: While I think Say Yes to the Dress is partly responsible for making Ms. Torani’s designs yet more popular, she seemed pretty established before the show, and her designs have also popped up to much oohing and ahing on shows like Whose Wedding Is It, Anyway?; Rich Bride, Poor Bride; and Bridezillas. I think the conspiracy reaches beyond Kleinfelds.

  4. Never teh Bride November 7, 2009 at 1:17 pm #

    She’s a nut… a nut, I tell you! Though I still can’t help liking the black and white gown in this post. Not sure what it is about her and the sheer panels, though. I could do without seeing the bride’s bellybutton, thanks!

  5. Sarah November 7, 2009 at 3:06 pm #

    The second one is *especially* awful, because it can’t make up its mind about where the waist is. The boning part goes over a waist which doesn’t look like a natural part of the skirt. The first one at least has embellishments that segue from the top to the bottom. The second looks like a pair of granny-briefs is being worn under it.

    As it is – ugh. The translucent ones look like fancy undergarments that a wedding dress should be going *over*.

  6. Rosanna November 7, 2009 at 8:27 pm #

    Well, many clergy members don’t seem to have a problem marrying women whose dresses are form fitting (when not frankly showing too much in the “upper department”) so what about these gowns you don’t like? They are excessive, all right, but the “sexy bride” school of thought is alive and kicking, as well as the “princess bride” and the “modest bride”. The one that is sorely missing is the thinking bride… most are pushed by relatives, fiancees, wedding planners and fashion stylists to wear gowns that don’t make them look good just because somebody else has an expectation of how a bride “should look”. I’ll tell you how a bride should look: she should look like HERSELF, whatever that means (if she is trashy, that’s how it is appropriate for her to look!).

  7. Blossom November 8, 2009 at 3:11 am #

    To me it looks like she has stuck a big poffy skirt on the bottom of some sexy lingure.

  8. La BellaDonna November 9, 2009 at 9:59 am #

    I’ll give the designer this: the dresses, by and large, seem to be imaginative, VERY well-constructed, and frequently very pretty. The overall impression I get, somehow, is that the designer got her start designing for Costume Cons. No, I wouldn’t wear something see-through for my wedding gown – or, come to think of it, EVER – but thirty years ago, I would have liked one of those gowns. I don’t know where I would have worn it, but I would have liked to own #1 or #3 (although I’d have to shift the poufiness on #3 – the waist needs to be higher, or the poufs draped narrower, for me).

  9. La BellaDonna November 9, 2009 at 10:02 am #

    Oh, left out my HOWEVER – HOWEVER, if she’s going to construct a garment with seams in a sheer fabric, she’d do better to join them with galloon or entre-deux or passementerie of some sort – those seams in the bottom dress are NOT attractive, and could have been avoided – and should have been.

  10. beeble November 11, 2009 at 11:30 am #

    On the Television Without Pity board for “Say Yes to the Dress,” they refer to her designs as the “stripper fairy” look. Only one bride on SYTTD rocked her design well, it was Dorianne who lined the bodice of one of her designs and wore a beautiful birdcage veil with it. Other Pnini brides look awful especially in a church setting. The dresses are designed for Vegas showgirls not brides getting married in places of worship.

  11. Sugatek December 31, 2009 at 10:54 am #

    I agree, Pnina can be over the top sometimes, but I also think she has some beautiful dresses as well. I watch SYTTD often and if you do and saw the dress that Bridal Consultant Sarah selected, it was a Pnina…fitted, but classy and GORGEOUS! You can’t show 5 dresses to define a person’s collection.

  12. lissa March 22, 2010 at 3:10 pm #

    i think the champaign one with the emerald sequence is beautiful. i wouldn’t buy it for that price. i would remake it my own and not use see through fabric but a champaign lace instead. when i get married, hopefully i can try to make one like that one. but it is pretty. like a fairytale.