When Fashion Meets Design
Maison Alexandrine is a brand that features ready-to-wear, haute couture and wedding dresses, objects, accessories, porcelain and art installations. All fashioned through meticulous and innovative craftsmanship of some of the best artisans in the world based in Brazil.
It is a fact that fashion is but creativity of design crafted through fabrics. Based on the values of diligent craftsmanship and innovative designs, the businesswoman Alexandra Fructuoso founded Maison Alexandrine, the first Brazilian luxury Maison.
Red carpet stunners, the dresses or dream works of Maison Alexandrine are all created in the grand Atelier that is inspired by the palace of Madame de Pompadour.
Just like the historical Madame De Pompadour, whose love for fine arts was notorious, Alexandra has made it her mission to promote, protect and take care of artists along with presenting their artistic creations to the international fashion world. In the past, Alexandra has showcased the works of artists including Carole Coelho, Chris Barban and more.
Inspired by the legacy of Madame de Pompadour, Alexandra – a Portuguese entrepreneur settled in Brazil since she was 19 -, after more than 20 years as a senior executive in the pharmaceutical industry, as she started to focus on fashion.
Inspired by the 18th-century era, the 800 square metre Maison, is dipped in luxury. A central staircase becomes the most inspiring feature of the interiors, guiding the visitors to their destination, a perfect example of luxury patronage.
The Maison, is divided in four floors in the Paulistano Garden, in São Paulo. Each floor well-planned and decorated with accessories that are collected for the space.
“The atelier was built with three elements in mind – the stairs, the elevator, and the skydome. The marble and iron works that make up the stairs were inspired by the “Petite Trianon” within the palace of Versailles. The ornate mix of iron and gold plating that decorates the elevator was inspired by Galleria Lafayette in Paris and the steel and glass skydome was inspired by the grand Palais,” explains Alexandra about the interiors of the store.
“The goal of Maison Alexandrine’s is to unveil talent and bring fashion, design, and art to the world through pieces created by skilled artisans,” says Alexandra. From dresses that are true works of art to accessories, jewellery, objects, porcelain, gastronomy and facilities, everything that attracts Alexandra’s creative genes are curated and picked for the Maison. All of them have one thing in common: that they are finished in artisan excellence, emphasising exclusivity and uniqueness.
Scale talks to Alexandra to understand her creative preferences.
SCALE: How did you ideate to bring about this store that brings together fashion and design?
My earliest mission was about showcasing Brazilian design and fashion to the world. This atelier was simply the physical manifestation of that mission.
SCALE: There are numerous boutiques and fashion concept stores around the world, how do you keep Maison Alexandrine above all the ordinary? What would be the USP, Unique Selling Point of the Store?
The key differentiation of the atelier can be described in one word– experience. Upon entering our doors, a client may enjoy a variety of bespoke adventures in fashion ranging from our highly popular wedding suite experience to the design studio project.
SCALE: Who are the design artists or brands featured and how do you keep yourself abreast with all the new products from around the world? Do you only source products from Brazil?
Historically much of our raw materials came from across Europe – French lace, Italian tulle Austrian crystal etc… however recently an increasing percentage of our materials are being developed locally.
SCALE: In your words, how do you see the marriage of fashion and design. How is it that one is not mutually exclusive of the other?
I can only answer that question by challenging the assumption that fashion and design are not the same thing. Fashion is design that we live in. As an analogy, we view architecture as design that we live in. The platform is different, but the relationship is the same.
SCALE: Your fashion icons and inspirations
Having observed in awe of the designers of the day, naturally there is a long list. However much of my inspiration is associated with personalities that exemplified elegance and simplicity even if they did not arise from the fashion industry itself. Grace Kelly and Jackie Kennedy come to mind almost immediately.
SCALE: One valuable interior tip, that you would share with our readers.
Design to create an environment with the intended experience in mind. At Alexandrine, the experience is about showcasing and magnifying the beauty of every woman who visits our home. We designed the atelier to provide that experience.