Art of Fashion

Deepa Rajan speaks to the enigmatic Alexandra Fructuoso on her passion for art, fashion et al…

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Most of us struggle to balance the creative with the analytical, but Alexandra Fructuoso seems to have no such limitations. Alexandra is, among many things, a successful and independent businesswoman. Originally from Protugual, she has lived in Brazil for nearly three decades and has spent 20 years in the pharmaceutical sector and built one of the largest distribution networks in the country.

In addition to her business success, Alexandra is dedicated to her passion in supporting talent in fashion and design. Something which led to the launch of Masion Alexandrine.

In order to understand the concept of the Maison Alexandrine, one must look to one of the most influential women in France: Madame de Pompadour. Her love for the fine arts was notorious, making her one of the most remarkable patrons in history.

The 870sqm maison is located in Paulistano Garden, in São Paulo. Divided in four floors, the Masion is a gradiose homage to the very engimatic Madame de Pompadour and strives to bring her love of arts and fashion alive through its various projects.

The brand’s name takes its inspiration Madame de Pompadour’s only daughter – the little Alexandrine Le Normant Étiolles. Alexandra orchestrates the curatorship of the Maison, which brings together the work of emerging local artists and designers and give them local, regional, and international exposure.

Today, Maison Alexandrine is home to the elite of Brazilian design and a platform to showcase their art throughout the world. Celebrities across the world including Britney Spears, Jennifer Lopez, Carrie Underwood, Paris Hilton, Gisele Bundchen, Roselyn Sanchez and Ashley Tisdale have been seen in dresses from this iconic couture brand.

alexandra fructuoso collection 2018

The Woman spoke with Alexandra about her passion for art, fashion and how it translates into creating a unique brand …

Everyone is to an extent a product of childhood influences. How did your childhood contribute towards making you the person you are?

Throughout my childhood I lived in very different places with very different cultures. I was lucky to be born into a big family, which I appreciated at the time and recreated in my life today! This and other experiences came with many realisations, which were programmed into me from a very early age.

From a farm in Angola to the countryside in Portugal, women might have fundamentally different ideas and values, but we all have the same desire: to truly feel like a woman and express ourselves as women.

As a woman who has established businesses in everything ranging from pharmaceutical sector to fashion, what has been your biggest challenge and how have you navigated it?

As a personal matter, I find myself motivated and determined and love action. In some industries, this is enough to accomplish the final goal. In fashion, however, it is not enough to be talented or to work hard. We have to fulfill the women’s dream, which is different for each one of us … Of course being mindful of the needs of women at any given time will help in that regard, but ultimately I have learned to take a deep breath and accept that not everything needs to mean something to everyone.

How and when was Masion Alexanderine born? Why choose Madame de Pompadour to be your muse?

I am an admirer of powerful women and Madam de Pompadour perfectly fits that description. The fact that she was a true patron of the arts inspired me. From her support, a wellspring of creativity was able to flourish and Maison Alexandrine lives in the same spirit.

What kind of designs would you say are signature of the brand? What is the Masion Alexanderine woman like?

The Alexandrine woman, above all, is a being of confidence and elegance. She aspires to see herself in the most truthful way she can at any given point in time. She sees herself as she is and is proud of her body and her life.

You are known to be a patron of arts. What is about art and architecture that makes you so passionate about it and how does it reflect in your work and the Maison itself?

I don’t feel capable of describing my passion for art. It is a feeling of belonging, of identifying! Art is a passion and thus a feeling seeing yourself in the piece. Sometimes I see a dress, a design and identify with it; I have it, or bring the creation to reality.

What according to you defines fashion? How does good fashion translate itself into art?

At its most basic, fashion is a human being’s expression of themselves. That is why in many ways fashion truly is art, even if it is commercial or commonly worn. Just as in art, the definition of quality fashion is not up to the creator but the recipient. It is most attractive when it is made with a style that is appreciated by the clients. I personally, identify with Dolce & Gabbana and Tom Ford in my wardrobe, but have pieces from all brands, both known and unknown designers.