When you’ve been in the fashion and makeup industry for 30-plus years like Rachel Durrani has, you’ll likely work closely with celebrities—finding yourself at photoshoots with creative luminaries such as Andy Warhol, and sitting next to the more listened-to trendsetters and buyers from Saks and Bergdorf Goodman at New York Fashion Week. Durrani has worked alongside the best of them, making a name for herself from her high-end boutiques, Rahelia—located on Madison Avenue in New York City; in Westchester, NY; and in Westport, CT.

Rahelia, 1420 Ringling Blvd., Sarasota, 941-330-1600, raheliacouture.com

Now with a sweeping retail shop downtown at the Ringling Blvd. roundabout, Rahelia takes SRQ to the NYC level with ball gown brands you don’t see coming in and out of department stores or chain clothiers. “I’m never swayed or persuaded by other buyers. I buy for the real woman, not models,” she says. “This means, I look to see how the fabric falls, how it moves and feels. I won’t buy it unless I believe it’ll accentuate and flatter all different body types and women of all ages.” Durrani has made a rolodex of connections from her time in NYC to bring high-fashion designer evening wear onto the hanging racks of her shadow box closets built into the walls of her store. You won’t find your typical David’s Bridal dress with Durrani, nor will she try to sell you a dress for the sake of a sale. “There’s a psychology in fashion styling—understanding someone’s needs, personality and lifestyle is important to dressing them for their special occasion and feeling their absolute best,” she says.

Getting glitz and glam with stylist, buyer and shop owner of Rahelia Couture, Rachel Durrani.

With over a half a million dollars in inventory—including designers such as Versace, Oscar de la Renta, Elie Saab and more—Durrani not only personally finds her clients a fitting floor-length number for gala season, black tie events or weddings, but will style them head to toe if they’re looking to also accessorize with scarves, shoes and jewelry to coordinate. “I get a lot of mother-of-the-bride and mother-of-the-groom clients, desperate to find a dress they won’t look frumpy or ‘old’ in,” she says. “No woman wants to feel frumpy at their son’s wedding; at Rahelia, they won’t have to.”