As Hollywood’s wedding dress queen, Reneé Strauss has helped some of the world’s wealthiest and most famous women choose their gowns. Now, all the tears, tantrums and credit card-busting frocks have been captured on her series, Brides of Beverly Hills. We called her for a chat…
How do you keep your patience with bridezillas?
I know that it’s a ‘once in a lifetime’ experience, though in Beverly Hills it could be five, six or seven times! It’s my responsibility to make it a wonderful experience. I once had a bride try on nearly every dress in the store. I’ve never been the type to say no, though – I usually say ‘no problem’.
What’s your favourite wedding dress out of all the ones you’ve sold?
It was for a family from South America who were in the supermarket business and were very wealthy. We customised a lace gown by dyeing it pink, and they brought in a treasure trove of pearls, plus security guards, who stayed with us for about eight weeks as we beaded it from top to bottom. It cost about $60,000 (Dhs220,000).
You’ve worked on movies including Runaway Bride and My Best Friend’s Wedding, both with Julia Roberts, as well as Father of the Bride. Tell us more!
I’ve worked on so many movies. It’s wonderful! I actually had a cameo in Father of the Bride. The movie people don’t really know the ins and outs of having a wedding – many of the directors are men and they’re not even involved when a family member’s getting married, so my expertise falls on very eager ears. Julia Roberts was lovely.
We hear Kelly Preston popped in to get her dress for her wedding to John Travolta!
She came in on a very busy Saturday without an appointment. My manager overheard her saying that her fiancé was on The Tonight Show the night before. She said: ‘Reneé, you have to go over and help her’. We found her a beautiful dress and it cost more than $20,000 (Dhs74,000). She wouldn’t tell me who she was marrying until her final fitting, and then she revealed it was John Travolta! When she came back to me later in her career to do movie wardrobes, I could really see the change in her. She wasn’t that young and innocent girl. It was as though her personality had changed. Hollywood does that to people.
Who would you like to dress?
Charlize Theron. Everything about her epitomises beauty.
Jennifer Aniston’s engaged – what style of wedding dress would you put her in?
Her style is very ‘all-American girl’, so I think maybe a halterneck style showing her beautiful shoulders, and flowing at the bottom.
What’s your top tip for choosing a dress?
Take into consideration what your ‘little girl’ vision is and combine that with practicality in terms of the type of wedding you’re having.
What’s the most extravagant wedding you’ve ever been involved with?
I did a wedding at the Vatican for an Italian family. Andrea Bocelli sang. It was beautiful and the highlight of my career. I get invited to every wedding, although I don’t always go to them.
Any plans to visit the UAE?
I’m dying to go to Dubai! It’s on my bucket list and I have a lot of Middle Eastern customers.
INFO: Double episodes screen at 8.50am and 9.15am, and at 10pm and 10.25am, Thu 3 Apr; 2.15pm and 2.40pm, Sat 5 Apr, and 2.15pm and 2.40pm, Wed 9 Apr, on TLC