Wilmington fashion followers will soon have an opportunity to snare a $10,000 designer wedding dress for as little as five dollars, and even if their raffle number comes up short, women with breast cancer will benefit.
Randy Fenoli, fashion designer and television star of TLC’s Say Yes to the Dress, is bringing his internationally-acclaimed styles to Wilmington for a creative Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition (DBCC) fundraiser, in conjunction with the 10th anniversary of its innovative Great Stuff Shops.
“We are absolutely so thrilled. This is just over the top for us,” said Great Stuff manager Dale Maahs. “It’s going to be a signature event for us, and it’s going to be fabulous for us and the state of Delaware,” she said. All proceeds from Great Stuff Savvy and Great Stuff Home are directed to the DBCC.
The event on Monday, October 21st at Salesianum School holds the opportunity for one attendee to come away with their very own bridal gown designed by Fenoli and sized perfectly to fit the bride. The $5 Randy Fenoli Bridal Dress Raffle will feature a selection of dresses the winner can choose from ranging in value from $5,000 to $10,000 from Fenoli’s Silver Springs Collection.
But the stylish dress every woman will have their eyes on is Fenoli’s “Power of the Pink Bridal Gown,” which will be seen for only the third time publicly when Fenoli brings it to town. Fenoli designed the stunning, full-length gown dripping with pink silk roses as a symbolic gesture, dedicated to women around the world.
But Fenoli has made a deliberate decision that the intricately designed dress is not for sale. “This dress is dedicated to women around the world, who through their actions and raised voices, continue to impress me with their tremendous strength and immense courage,” he said.
Not surprisingly, Fenoli, who has been designing wedding dresses on and off since 1993 – first for Kleinfeld and now his own line – says that women are the source of his inspiration. In an interview with Wedding Ideas, he proclaimed, “I get inspired by their personal style, strength, femininity, and different personalities.” The independent consultant is also the author of It’s All About the Dress.
Shown previously only in New York and Barcelona, the motivation behind the dress – and its pink color – are elements that appealed to the DBCC when they pitched Fenoli to come to Wilmington. The DBCC credits Board Chair Ciro Poppiti (also the New Castle County Register of Wills) for coming up with the idea of inviting Randy Fenoli to generate buzz about the 10th anniversary celebration.
Organizers hope the dress will serve as inspiration for many attendees who themselves might be struggling with breast cancer, in recovery, or living as survivors.
DBCC says Randy Fenoli is the perfect high-profile influencer for this event because the charming and boisterous television star is passionate about giving back and supporting community causes. The DBCC and Great Stuff Shops are hoping that his appearance will allow them to bring more awareness to breast cancer through the programs and services they offer in Delaware.
Greenville resident Stacey Bacchieri and her late husband Gregg, successful business people and active community volunteers, were the impetus behind Great Stuff Resale. A breast cancer survivor herself, Stacey was diagnosed in 2002, went through chemotherapy and radiation, and has been healthy for more than 15 years.
As a result of her experience, Stacey wanted to help other women facing the same illness and decided to focus on DBCC as her vehicle. So ten years ago, they created a resale shop for women’s fine apparel, with all proceeds going to the DBCC. The pair dove into the project of renovating a space on Silverside Road where Great Stuff Savvy welcomed its first customers in 2009.
Four years later Gregg and Stacey went to work renovating a second space at the Talleyville Center for Great Stuff Home. Both retailers are staffed by volunteers and a handful of managers under the umbrella of the DBCC.
Since the openings of the two resale shops, over $600,000 has been contributed to DBCC.
“The shops are so much more than we anticipated,” said Bacchieri. “From an emotional standpoint, people who have gone through the journey of breast cancer and have needed support can walk into our store, and we’re able to provide that support and direct them to the resources and programs at Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition.”
The experience of shopping at Great Stuff isn’t quite like other retailers. The volunteers and managers work to foster a relaxed and comfortable environment for those who may be undergoing treatment or are in recovery. A sense of camaraderie is established among shoppers and volunteers so conversations can spark up naturally.
“A lot of our volunteers are breast cancer survivors. So this is a cause that’s really close to their heart,” said Maahs. “They offer hugs when it’s needed.”
The event, which also includes an online and silent auction, will begin with an exclusive meet and greet with Randy at 5:30 pm. Guests will be able to share conversations, take photos, and enjoy light bites and refreshments. At 7:00 pm, Randy will share his personal story and bridal trends, followed by a Q&A from the audience. Tickets can be found here.
“We’re all excited about this event with Randy Fenoli. It will add more life to the Great Stuff organizations and bring their names out to the community,” said Bacchieri.