A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of speaking with designer Heidi Elnora. You may remember Heidi from Project Runway where she first showcased her keen fashion design skills. These days, Heidi has built her brand heidi elnora from the ground up and her designs can be found in over 32 stores worldwide. I really enjoyed talking to the Alabama native and she’s definitely the epitome of a southern belle!
Image Credit: Stacy Richardson Photography
CBB: Tell me more about your business and how you got started?
Not too long after I was eliminated from Project Runway, I was involved in a car accident where a drunk driver hit me; I returned home to Alabama to recover. It was during that time that I had started thinking about what I really wanted to do with my life. Timing is everything because once I returned home, I met my husband, got married and started my brand from the ground up…literally. I always wanted to be a designer but really wanted to design something that people would cherish as much as I did, and that led me to wedding dresses. The heidi elnora brand is known for its attention to detail and quality construction.
CBB: Explain the design process and how you go about creating your gowns?
I find inspiration everywhere! A collection may be in my head for years before it’s ever seen in public. It’s all about timing. I let ideas flow freely and come to me based off my mood, what’s going on in my life. Things are constantly changing so it’s really based off what I’m feeling like in that moment.
CBB: Do you have a favorite design?
I’m usually in love with whatever collection I’m working on at the time, so I would say my newest collection, The Hello Darling Collection is my favorite.
CBB: What’s the build a bride concept and how can brides take advantage of that?
Build-A-Bride is a collection made up of 15 basic white dresses, similar to a blank canvas. The bride uses the basic dress as her foundation to build from. Do you want to show off your hips or hide them? Do you want to add lace or sparkle? Brides can then select from more than 30 unique add on pieces to add to their dress to create something unique just for them. It’s really a great way to help brides add focus and figure out the best dress that flatters their body and allows them to have ownership in the design process.
CBB: How is this different from a custom gown?
A custom dress is literally made from scratch and is true bridal couture. For custom dresses, I meet with the bride, we have several fittings and it can take anywhere from 6-9 months depending on the detail involved.
CBB: What’s next for your brand?
I’m really looking forward to the premiere of my new show on TLC, Bride By Design, premiering on Friday March 27th at 9/8 C. Bride By Design gives viewers a behind the scenes look at how my team and I help brides design their dream dresses and different from other bridal shows, is shown from my perspective as the designer.
CBB: Lastly, when you’re not busy designing gowns what do you like to do in your down time?
It’s all about family for me. I love to spend time with my husband and 2 boys.
Thanks to Heidi for sharing her story and expertise!
*All dress images provided by Heidi and her team.
Be sure to tune into TLC tomorrow, March 27th for the premiere of Bride by Design at 9/8c!