Former “Say Yes to the Dress” consultant Keasha Rigsby brings her own bridal salon, Beautiful Bridal, to Detroit in the historic Bagley Mansion.
By Susan Peck
Photography by Viviana Pernot
Taking in the sights of the city streets downtown, Keasha Rigsby held back tears. Visiting friends in Detroit several years ago, the bridal fashion expert and native New Yorker felt the pain the city had endured.
“My family and I came in just before the real resurgence downtown, and there were so many empty buildings, boarded up houses and nobody was on the streets. It was haunting and made me very, very sad,” Rigsby says.
After their stay, her youngest son sparked a flame in her that caught light. “About 13 years old at the time, he said, ‘Mom, Detroit needs you, they need your smiles and your love,’” says Rigsby, a mother of three. “I knew he was right, so my husband and I made the decision to move here in 2015. I wanted the chance to spread my love and my bridal fashion magic here.”
Working in the fashion industry in New York as a buyer for Saks Fifth Avenue, designer at Perry Ellis and eventually head consultant at Kleinfeld Bridal in Manhattan, her effervescent personality and fashion intuition won her a role on TLC’s hit reality series “Say Yes to the Dress.” Rigsby went on to host her own show “Keasha’s Perfect Dress” on Aspire TV, but she still had something big left on her career goal bucket list — owning her own salon.
In February 2016, Rigsby opened Beautiful Bridal with Keasha Rigsby in the historic Bagley Mansion on Jefferson in Detroit.
“What you have here now in Detroit is a world-renowned bridal stylist,” says Beautiful Bridal co-founder Vallery Hyduk. “Her television episodes reach around the globe from the USA to Europe and Latin America to as far away as the Philippines and Sub-Saharan Africa.”
SEEN sat down with Rigsby to talk about why she opened Beautiful Bridal in Detroit, what dresses she’d pick for the royal wedding and more.
Beautiful Bridal was the first bridal salon to open in downtown Detroit in years. What gave you the courage to go where others have feared to tread?
KR: Dreams don’t work unless you take action, and by me moving from New York to Detroit, that was a big step in the right direction. Detroit has opened up her arms and embraced me like no other city. I got support to open my business from the Michigan Women’s Foundation, Detroit Development Fund, Invest Detroit and my main man Mayor Duggan and the entire Motor City Match team. I’m digging Duggan, I’ll just say that.
I really believe Detroit will become a fashion destination like it used to be, and I want to be a part of it. My family has chosen to live in the city, too. My motto is “You have to live in it to win it.”
Besides the chance for brides to work with a bridal expert, what makes the Beautiful Bridal experience unique?
KR: I really fall in love with the brides and women I dress, and I become like a member of their family. Having three sons and no daughters, to me, every bride I work with becomes the daughter I never had. I represent over 50 of the most fabulous designers in the world and won’t stop until we find the dress that speaks to each woman and makes her twirl. My job is to put them in the dress of their dreams.
One of my favorite stories happened recently when a bride flew in from California with her dad to pick out her wedding dress. The two didn’t have an easy relationship, but one thing they had in common was getting together to watch “Say Yes to the Dress.” They felt like they knew me from the show, so when they got to Beautiful Bridal, we all bonded and became very close. More importantly, I saw their relationship transform — it really began to blossom during their time together here. The father and daughter who came in weren’t the same two when they left, and I hope the experience at my salon was a part of that. Those are the success stories that make us stand out and make me want to do what I do every day of my life.
With speculation around the royal wedding at Windsor Castle, what do you think we’ll see on the bride, Meghan Markle?
KR: The two most popular wedding gowns trending today are the more traditional princess ball gown and a very body-molding silhouette, and Meghan could do one of each. For the ceremony, I would dress her in a duchess satin, strapless, dropped waist ball gown, with a hint or whisper of blue that’s on trend now and a cape made of organza and chantilly lace appliqués designed by one of my favorites, Carolina Herrera. It would be spectacular for Meghan to break the royal wedding train record left by the enchanting Princess Diana‘s 25-foot train, and perhaps do a 30-foot long train.
To wow them at the reception, I’d love to see her in another dress that’s a bit more form-fitting and just kisses the hips and gracefully falls. The dress would include fabrics like silk charmeuse or perhaps a silk crêpe with touches of Alencon lace designed by Monique Lhuillier — one of the world’s top bridal designers.
Peak wedding season will soon be here. Can you tell us about some of the upcoming events at Beautiful Bridal?
KR: On Feb. 17, we’re excited to be having our first Keasha’s Spectacular Beautiful Bridal Showcase from noon to 6 p.m. It’s a chance to see the beautiful historic mansion, the exclusive bridal dresses from many of my favorite haute couture designers like Simone Carvalli and talented local designers, and have fun with us all afternoon. We’ll also have more of our Try on Party events where you can experiment with different dresses while we give you custom ideas like changing straps, sleeves or adding a belt and shoes or accessories to create dress-perfection.