Haldora Offers Classic Fashion Designed In Rhinebeck
By Andrea Pyros
Women’s fashion designer Haldora spent much of her life traveling in the states and abroad. But when it came time to pick a dream location for her eponymous clothing boutique, she chose Rhinebeck.
“I was always drawn to the area. I’m extremely visual and the beauty here is comforting to me,” she says. Born outside of Syracuse, the self-taught designer with Icelandic and Ukrainian roots has an air of mystery surrounding her, maybe due to her preference for keeping her last name a secret (“It’s just Haldora!”) or perhaps it’s her references to her artistic temperament and the unexpected ways in which she finds inspiration. Ultimately, Haldora is happiest when her clothing is the center of attention.
Racks of gorgeous garments in premium cottons, silks and, particularly for spring, linens (“Linen comes out so beautifully! No matter what you make, it just looks gorgeous.”) fill her airy and brightly lit store. Customers depend on Haldora’s best-selling one-size Orchard shirt (prices vary, but a current silk version is $288) and one-size Cambria shirt ($248 in linen).
Cambria shirt. Photo courtesy Haldora..
She makes these tops in different fabrics and with different details, so many women wind up buying multiple variations of each. Recent arrivals include a peplum silk top with embroidered polka dots ($288) and a dress with three-quarter length sleeves and lace insets on the sides ($328).
Other than a few items from outside lines, Haldora creates all of the pieces she sells, working with an upstate husband-and-wife team who do her sewing. Her focus is mainly on clothing, but she’s occasionally inspired to craft an accessory, among them belts, scarves and sashes, or little dolls made from scraps and bits she’s saved like precious jewels.
Though the fashion industry is famous for its wild mood swings, Haldora has never strayed from her goal of creating high-quality, classic pieces that can be worn forever.
“I do look at the trends,” she says, “but I think I’ve created my own niche. My clothing is about building a closet that is timeless. A lot of clothes today have become so disposable.” Haldora designs for buyers of all ages and sizes, with clothing that flatters and makes customers feel put-together, whether they’re choosing from her more fitted, youthful pieces to her flowier (but hardly frumpy) items.
“It’s clothing that goes anywhere,” she explains. “You feel safe no matter where you go. You just know it’s going to work.” Because of her Hudson Valley base, she’s inspired to work a bit of a country feel in to her designs while making sure she offers a touch of the soft, silky and feminine.
Haldora will occasionally work with clients on special custom orders, though she prefers to sell off the rack because she’s already put her energy in to those pieces, including pre-washing the garments so they’re shrunk and ready to be worn — and yes, a majority are machine-washable. She assures RI that anyone wearing her styles won’t see themselves mirrored on half their neighbors because she keeps her runs small, with many either one of a kind or part of limited collections of three, four or six pieces at most.
It’s taken work and dedication to stay successful over her 19 years in Rhinebeck. Haldora counts on a stable base of returning customers along with new clients she gains through word of mouth and tourists who pack the streets during peak seasons. When one does stop in to her shop, Haldora and her staff are happy to provide styling advice, including help finding pieces to match an item a woman already owns. “Our customers understand quality and that you build up a wardrobe. If you want creativity and help here, we can help you.”