5 Things You Didn’t Know About Pnina Tornai

By Maria Ward

In celebration of the legendary designer and the new Pnina Tornai x Naturalizer bridal shoe collection that marries couture-level design with luxurious comfort, we’re taking a walk in her proverbial shoes with a look at her fascinating story and signature style. Below, 5 facts that may surprise you about the “Say Yes to the Dress” star (plot twists included).

1. At First, Kleinfeld Said “No” To Her Dresses

When she first brought her designs to the legendary boutique nearly two decades ago, they were rejected by the buyer and owner. “The buyer was looking at my dresses with a very weird face, saying, ‘We are never going to be able to sell these dresses in America. They’re too sexy; they’re too daring.’” On the 12-hour flight back to Tel Aviv, Tornai was in tears. She designed a new collection of subtly sexy dresses for American brides and shipped it to Kleinfeld and a note that read: “Please expose these dresses in your store. If they don’t sell, send them back to me.” Two weeks later, she got a phone call from the owner, who explained the store had a problem with her designs. They sold too many and weren’t sure she could keep up with the orders. “The rest,” she says, “is history.” Talk about a dramatic plot twist worthy of reality TV.

2. Being a Designer Wasn’t Her Dream

After ten years living in Paris, where she pursued a career in acting by enrolling in drama school, she moved back to her native Israel as a newly single mom with a young son to support. “I started to design wedding gowns during one of the most challenging times in my life when I decided that the only way for me to find fulfillment would be to do something that would empower other women,” she said. “How better to do that than to make a bride happy on her wedding day? In Judaism, we believe that it is a good deed to bring joy to a bride on her wedding day. My calling is to make my brides feel like the most beautiful versions of themselves as they commit to the love of their life, and it is a privilege and blessing to do that. And as we say in bridal, anyone who works with brides gets a 5-star suite in heaven!”

3. She’s The Official Bling Queen

Where there is Pnina Tornai, there is sparkle, as seen in her elaborate embellishments of Swarovski crystals, mother-of-pearl embroidery, and more. The self-proclaimed Queen of Bling made it official in 2022 with Pnina Tornai One, a bespoke engagement and wedding ring collection designed exclusively for Jared. “Having worked with brides for over 20 years, I’ve learned that there is only one thing that is more important than the dress, and it’s not the groom—it’s the ring,” she said on Good Morning America. “Fabric by nature is perishable, but the ring lasts forever. It is a lasting way for me to become part of my bride’s journey toward her future with her soulmate.”

4. Pnina Never, Ever Wears Flats

When you ask Tornai what her favorite thing about footwear is, she succinctly replies: “Heels!” The petite designer, known for her love of platforms, explains: “I am 5 feet tall, but my personality is at least 6’11”!” Adding: “I always wear six-inch heels, which I call extensions. I cannot live without my heels.”

5. She Had a Bridal Shoe Nightmare

Tornai made the all-too-common mistake of getting married in beautiful but painful custom shoes. “They were so uncomfortable, all I wanted was for the wedding to be over because my feet were screaming,” she remembers. To make matters worse, the petite designer kept them on until she tossed the bouquet, fearing that she would be mistaken for the flower girl! The experience inspired Tornai to create a new collection of comfy-chic alternatives for brides. Before you dance the night away, “spend some time walking around the house in them before the big day!”

Discover Pnina Tornai x Naturalizer at Naturalizer.com, Dillards.com, Zappos.com,
Nordstrom.com as well as and in-store, in addition to Kleinfeld Bridal and Von Maur



This content is sponsored by Naturalizer.