When Queen Victoria put on her white wedding dress she hardly suspected that she would become the icon of the wedding industry for years to come. To this day, brides around the world remain faithful admirers of this unsurpassed classical wedding style, exhibited for centuries. Since 1840, the wedding industry changed forever; now it was time for fairytales to come true.
While exploring the apogee for wedding designs and luxury, Socialite Magazine was introduced to the exceptional bridal house of South Florida - Chernaya Bridal House. The white wedding dress phenomenon was masterfully launched by Coco Chanel. As the classical approach was established by a world-famous fashion icon, a unique, classy concept for the wedding celebration is presently brought to the industry by none other than the owner of Chernaya Bridal House, Rina Chernaya. In an interview with Socialite Magazine, Rina Chernaya offers her insight on the bridal industry, providing valuable advice and answers to the modern-day bride’s questions and dilemmas as well as priceless information for the bride to be. Reflecting upon my first impression of the showroom, I want to highlight how amazed I was not only with the dress collection from topnotch designers and the incredible accessories presented but also by the classy ambiance that is incredibly vivid in this marvelous showroom. It was a great pleasure to also learn that the mastermind behind this enterprise, Rina, is our compatriot, a daughter of a famous Russian entrepreneur who left the country in the 90’s.
Understanding all the challenges that entrepreneurs face on a daily basis, I am pleasantly impressed at how Rina managed to skyrocket her business in just 5 years, establishing a world-famous and prestigious bridal house especially in the most luxurious shopping destination, Miami Design District.
- Rina, it is not a secret that your father holds a very prominent place in the business world, and many in your place would just enjoy the gifts of life. Yet, you chose a different path. What prompted you to break stereotypes about you being born with a silver spoon in your mouth and engage in a large-scale venture in an entirely different field from your family’s business?
-"I believe that every woman should pursue her goals and dreams. What’s more, it doesn’t matter what her social status is and who her parents or husband are. I’ve always desired to build “something of my own,” to run my own business, despite my social status. Sitting at home was not for me. My father himself always wanted me to pursue my goals and achieve them on my own. So, soon after, I started working in the bridal industry. I am immensely grateful to my parents who believed in me and supported all of my ideas"
When I asked what inspired her to open a wedding salon, Rina stressed that the idea came from her partner, Peter Karageorgos. At first, she thought of opening an event management company, but after persistent recommendations from Peter, she came to realize this unique concept which would soon bring her great success.
"Firstly, well before we opened our salon, I already had a diverse experience in the fashion industry. I worked with my partner in Israel, where we owned luxury clothing boutiques. Back then, we collaborated with many world-famous fashion houses like Givenchy, Pierre Balmain, Tom Ford and many others. I was always engaged in the process of choosing collections for our boutiques. I was certainly enjoying my job despite the fact that I had endless trips to Italy and the United States. This was probably the most difficult aspect of that business.
Secondly, I often had this extraordinary desire to bring an exceptional kind of beauty to the American culture of wedding ceremonies. For some reason, I could always see the difference between European and American bridal shopping. I wanted to bring a personalized experience, that I believe is a true luxury shopping experience which I encounter in Europe.
Chernaya Bridal House became the embodiment of my ideas and passion. I still do what I love the most, but at the same time, I am able to balance my home life and work life. I am extremely happy to see how five years after its launch, my brand is still exponentially growing."
During the conversation with Rina, I saw a stunning confirmation of the belief that a business is successful only when the owner is truly passionate about it. Chernaya Bridal House is known all over the country and across the oceans. Rina’s life comes with huge regard from high society from all across the globe. As a daughter of her successful and famous father, she gets much focus from Moscow’s top social circles. Some try to adopt her style, many others just recognize her as a founder of wedding fashion. Rina’s collection of one of a kind, couture dresses by top-tier designer can only be found at Chernaya Bridal House. Nowhere in the world, not even in Europe, can you find such an exclusive bridal house.
- Rina, tell us about the process of choosing a dress at Chernaya Bridal House? Working with brides is not the easiest, is it? After all, this is the single most important outfit of their life.
"We feature over 100 exclusive gowns by different designers in our salon and we offer professional stylists for our brides. Our stylists work with each bride. They provide the necessary assistance and expertise to help make the right choice. It is really not easy at all. I, myself, often come to the fitting and I know all the challenges of this process. The Girl’s nerves are on edge and they often feel extreme pressure to make sure everything is what they envision as perfection. Therefore, we all have to be, first and foremost, good listeners. After all, this is not a Gucci boutique where you can come and buy whatever you want. We are a bridal house where often times brides come without knowing what exactly they are looking for while in the midst of all the other pre-wedding chaos."
Rina shared with us that most brides come with an already chosen photo of the dress they’d like to wear. Rarely do they realize that the same gown will look differently on each person, they often assume that the dress will fit perfectly just like on the model. Stylists at Chernaya Bridal House offer to try on five to seven outfits. Some brides, of course, want to try on everything.
"Our job is unique. After all, while choosing the “dress,” we work closely with each bride. We welcome brides from all over the world! Not so long ago, we had the princess of Bahrain as our guest. She got herself a very exclusive gown. We learned of her royal status only when she left as we were asked to deliver the dress right to her palace in Manama. What surprised us most is that she acted like a typical bride, not like royalty.
Our task is to make our brides feel unique and special while finding them their dream dress. The bride should absolutely fall in love and that is what we accomplish every single time.
-And what is easier for the bride – to come herself for the fitting or bring along a group of friends?
"Of course one should listen to advice. For example, brides from South America come to us with their whole families. The number could reach up to 10 - 12 people: parents, sisters, brothers, close relatives, and friends. And, everyone has their own opinion about how their dear bride should look on her most special day of life. But, firstly – each bride should listen to herself. She should feel very comfortable in the wedding gown as she will be the one spending the entire day wearing it. The bride should continue the search for the right dress until she can surely call the chosen outfit to be 100% hers."
As Rina informed me when brides come to Chernaya Bridal House they often buy two or more dresses at once. On the day of the wedding, it is common that the bride is dressed in her “main” gown with a long train after which she can change up to three times post-ceremony, each time changing into a more comfortable outfit. Rina’s bridal house offers “two in one” gowns which have removable skirts that are replaced with more simplified versions. There are many options to choose from, everything depends on the budget that the bride has.
- In one of your interviews, you advised the brides to prepare their budget ahead of the time. Tell us about pricing at Chernaya Bridal House, namely the prices for premium dresses?
"When we opened the house, we bought solely ultra-luxury gowns. But later, we came to change our decision. We wanted to give this fairytale feeling to as many women as possible. Now, we have dresses that range from $5 to $40 thousand. Yet, the majority of our dresses are still from the premium segment."
I asked Rina, why do brides choose Chernaya Bridal house over all the other wedding salons in the city?
"In Chernaya Bridal House, we not only take care of exclusivity and fashion but also provide the highest-end and personalized service. Here, you are promised to be surrounded by topnotch professionals. Each bride has a whole team of stylists, tailors, and masters who are helping with the choice of the dresses and are engaged in the later process of individual fittings. It is very convenient – you get all the services right under one roof. We have six wonderful tailors who do all the work by hand. For a dress to fit perfectly, the bride should come at least 3 to 5 times to the fitting. Then the magic happens – a gown transforms in all the possible ways desired. Our tailors can sew beads, extend trains, reshape capes, add jewelry, and much more. Our professionals won’t stop their work until the bride is satisfied 100%! This is exactly what distinguishes us from other South Florida bridal houses."
Rina Chernaya works closely with numerous, well-known designers - Ralph & Russo, Michael Cinco, Elie Saab and many others. The primary sewing of many of her gowns is done in Israel, Lebanon, and Romania but the individual fitting takes place solely in her Miami showroom. When asked whom she considers a fashion icon in the wedding industry, Rina responded that for her, Queen Victoria has always been and will remain the legislator of wedding fashion for years to come. Among contemporaries, she gives her preference to the unsurpassed style of Grace Kelly. While discussing fashion icons and celebrities, we couldn’t help mentioning the royal wedding of Harry and Meghan, namely, the bride’s rather conservative white gown by Givenchy.
- Have you noticed an increased demand for dresses that most resemble Meghan’s style?
"You will be surprised, but in the modern fashion industry designers are trendsetters not the stars or public figures. So no, there was no increased attention to a particular type of dress. Personally, I think that when it comes to such an important life event, it is better to focus on the inner voice rather than fashion trends. After all- you should feel comfortable in the gown in which you are going to be married in."
- And who is your favorite designer?
"I don’t have any single favorite designer. All the couturiers we’ve worked with have their own vision and breathtaking outfits. However, I do single out one designer as all of his gowns are sewed from the inside out. His gowns are comparable to expensive cars. Not only do they look spectacular from the outside, but they are incredibly sewn from the inside. The Michael Cinco factory and his office are located in Dubai. I visit him once a year to select exclusive pieces. Right now we are waiting for 2 new dresses from him, which will be showcased in Chernaya Bridal House, but not for sale. They are so unique that when I saw them, I realized that I had to keep them as permanent fixtures in my bridal house."
Presently, in Chernaya Bridal House, you can purchase accessories, wedding and evening dresses from the most luxurious segment of the bridal market. I asked Rina - how she sees her business in five years down the road? Will there be any drastic changes?
"Yes, there will be changes. First, we are planning to move to a more spacious showroom. Secondly, we have a feeling that after some time, most designers will stop making a wedding line. At the moment, we have an excess of wedding gowns from every fashion house which greatly complicates the choice for the brides. We foresee that they will soon start producing smaller bridal collections. In addition, it seems to us that the number of wedding couturiers will be reduced by half. These shifts in the industry will not affect the development of my business. "
At the conclusion of our conversation, I asked Rina to share some advice with our brides about how to find that very dress for the most special day of her life?
- "The most essential thing that I would like to say to my future brides is not to make hasty decisions! Always take time to think through your choice and understand what exactly you are looking for. After all, the wedding day is a surely exceptional day and your dress should be the same. Remember: a wedding dress is both intimate and personal for a woman – it must resemble the style and personality of the bride, not vice versa. After all, it’s not the dress that makes the bride, but the bride that makes the dress”. Leaving this remarkably beautiful, truly fabulous showroom, I can definitely say that Chernaya Bridal House is a legislator of high quality and premium standards. Once you get here, you will definitely find the gown of your dreams. And, you will say “I do” to your chosen dress.