Every season, millions of viewers tune into The Bachelorette premiere to see which contestant will get the First Impression Rose, who will make the craziest introduction and who will be the first gentleman to proudly proclaim “I’m not here to make friends.” But there’s another major component of night one: the star of the season’s dress. This year, Becca Kufrin chose a beaded white high-neck halter gown by Randi Rahm, a designer whose name should be familiar to Bachelor Nation. Rahm, who says she’s been working with the franchise “a good strong 15” years, has designed dozens of pieces worn on the series, including several coveted premiere and finale gowns.
Considering her history with The Bachelorette, it should come as no surprise that this year is no different. In addition to the stunning premiere dress, you’ll see Randi Rahm pieces pop up on Kufrin throughout the season, including, yes, the finale. We chatted with the designer about what it’s like to dress a Bachelorette (or a dozen), how she approaches each season and which moments of the show were her all-time favorites.
You dressed Becca in several looks this season. How many total pieces did you send for her to try?
We must’ve sent like 30 pieces, [per] request from stylist Cary [Fetman] who is just delicious. They get like 3,000 to 4,000 pieces, from people all over, and Cary goes through it. Then they bring in whoever the new Bachelorette is and then that young lady gets to go through the garments herself and she actually — it’s very organic — picks her favorites pieces.
Did you have anything in mind when you were sending things that you thought would be a good premiere or finale dress?
Absolutely. I think the first night… they want to make this glamorous, beautiful, sensual statement, just like any other woman. They might not be as dressed up when they’re going on their first date, but for the Bachelorette, that’s how that is. And I think they usually like a little sparkle in the beginning and the end. So, I always send beautiful lined, gracing-the-body kind of dresses with beautiful embellishment or embroideries or something that has a little zhuzh.
What can you tell us about the dress that she ultimately chose from the premiere?
I love that piece. It is very intricately beaded in different millimeters of pearls along with Swarovski crystals to line them. It’s quite intricate and extremely elegant even though it is totally adorned. It’s over-the-top without it screaming.
What did you think when you saw Becca wearing the dress?
I assumed it was between these two dresses [I had sent] and I know these girls have incredible guidance with Cary. I wasn’t surprised when I saw that being the first night’s dress. I think it had all the elements of a first night’s dress: the wow factor, sensual and inviting, showing the figure, showing just the right amount of skin, and fit. And I think she chose the right one.
And the other one that you thought it might be — did it end up being the finale dress?
Yes! Because it’s befitting. You know [you figure out] the way that they do things. But it’s always in some exotic place, right? So I think what she picked was also very perfect but, we can’t talk about that [yet].
You’ve been designing clothes for Bachelorettes for so many years now. How do you approach each season?
I definitely think about “Who’s this new Bachelorette? What do I think her style is?” Cary is always extremely forthcoming with descriptions and what the girl is like, what she likes, what she doesn’t like, all that kind of stuff. My forte is looking at somebody and knowing what would look good on them. But half the battle of fashion is really is the person feeling good about what they feel like in a specific dress or piece and only until that person tries it on, can you tell how wonderful they feel. You know when a woman feels good about herself, when they look in the mirror and they stand up so straight and a smile comes up on their face and you know they’re feeling confident. And I do know that being associated with The Bachelorette for so long, I know what they need, and sometimes they tell us it’s more of a cold-weather season or more of a hot-weather season, so that does determine what you send. They could be 20-below zero and need a parka and some gloves and then the next minute they’re in Fiji on the beach.
What dress — from any season — have you gotten the most feedback on?
Wow, that’s hard, I think there’s really maybe three I can mention at the same time. JoJo in the royal blue, coming down the steps. And definitely Ashley in the pink finale dress, where she goes into the water with all the feathers, it got wet. And I think the rose dress last year, that was in the commercial and I think that it was so beautifully executed in their advertising. She looked so beautiful, it was her first moment of stardom, you know. It was gorgeous. Those stand out in my mind.
Did anyone purchase the rose dress after seeing it in those ads?
We have sold a few of them! Matter of fact it’s also in white, where you can purchase as a wedding dress.
Don’t miss the new season of The Bachelorette premiere tonight, Monday May 28, at 8 P.M. ET on ABC.