“The dress is the ultimate female expression,” says White Plains resident Rolando Santana, and he should know—dressmaking is practically in his DNA. In Mexico, he grew up watching his seamstress mother fashion fabrics into beautiful designs for her clients in their home and spent his teens mastering the arts of pattern-making, construction, and sewing in her production factory. After earning a degree in fashion design at the Fashion Institute of Technology in 2005, Santana designed for such dress companies as Spenser Jeremy and Donna Morgan before striking out on his own in the spring of 2010.
Handmade in New York, the designer’s current fall/winter collection was inspired, he says, by the deep colors and rich textures found in the somber Philip Guston paintings of the ’60s. Santana’s daytime-into-evening looks—primarily cocktail-length dresses, but also some gowns, coats, and fur vests—are predominantly black with wine, rust, and navy accents. Fabrics include organic merino wool in conjunction with leather and wool gauze, and satin, organza, and chiffon. “Leather is not normally thought of as a feminine touch,” says Santana, “but we get that with the movement of a full skirt and even leather ruffles.”
The main runway collection, known as Rolando Santana, is priced from $850 to $5,000; the contemporary Rolando collection is priced from $200 to $395. Offered at Outerluxe in Larchmont, Pamela Robbins in Scarsdale, and Angela’s in Rye. For more info: rolandosantana.com.