On Tuesday night, the Bachelorette returns (after a slight delay due to the pandemic) for its 16th season starring Clare Crawley — the runner-up on the 18th season of the Bachelor, which aired in 2014, and a contestant on Bachelor in Paradise and Bachelor Winter Games. While there’s little that we know about the upcoming season, we did get a solid peek at one thing ahead of the premiere: Clare Crawley's dress from night one.
In September, the show released a handful of images of Crawley’s first look of the season. For the occasion, the 39-year-old hairstylist from Sacramento, California, chose a lavender halter gown courtesy of Randi Rahm, a New York-based couture and bridal designer. The floor-length, backless dress features a mosaic of mirror-like sequins, that cluster on top of the dress before dispersing toward the bottom. According to Rahm, the dress was selected from her Love and Passion collection, “after much thought and consideration.” Rahm tells Refinery29, “I chose the gown because with [Crawley’s] coloring, it was a perfect fit.”
Rahm is no stranger to dressing stars on both the Bachelor and the Bachelorette. In fact, the designer was responsible for none other than season 13’s star Rachel Lindsay’s sparkling finale dress, as well as her wedding dress. She also designed dresses for Emily Maynard, the season 8 Bachelorette, and Becca Kufrin from season 14, among others. “Working with the Bachelorette is such a wonderful experience,” Rahm says. The designer explains that she — along with all of the designers in the running for placement on the show — are privy to which contestant has been chosen for the season in advance, giving them the ability to customize the gowns they send for consideration: “I send what I feel will be the most beautiful, stunning, and appropriate pieces.” The pieces are then sent to Bachelorette stylist Cary Fetman and the contestant, who go through racks and racks of gowns and select which ones are right for each of the season’s big events, including night one and the final rose. “Crawley was the one to choose her premiere dress out of many, many gowns,” Rahm says. “She went right to it and picked it for the opening night.”
On an episode of the podcast Bachelor Happy Hour, featuring Feltman — along with makeup artist Gina Modica and former contestants Becca Kufrin and Lindsay — the stylist explained that there’s a very specific formula for picking a dress for the premiere. For starters, the dress has to survive a long night, some of which is spent outside in a driveway. "There’s a reason why they all have some gauzy bottom or sequins," he said. "I don’t think the audience realizes how many times you’re lifted in the air and put down." Feltman added that it’s important for the dress not to soak up water or dirt in the driveway. "It’s gotta be something that I can dry and clean while the party is beginning before you go back out again. It can’t be something that is absorbed and is filthy, because it’s a really long night. You can’t worry about the fact that every time you cross your leg, the bottom of your dress is completely ruined,” he said.
As for the rest of the season, there’s a lot of fashion to come — which includes other pieces designed by Rahm. “All I can tell you is that you can expect much more Randi Rahm on this season,” Rahm says.
Tune in tonight at 8pm EST for the Bachelorette premiere on ABC — that is, after you finish all your Amazon Prime Day shopping.