Creative director Alessandra (Sandra) Brand founded her label, Alessandra, more than ten years ago, creating luxury cashmere for women of the world.
Alessandra cashmere yarn is sourced from the fields of inner Mongolia. The precious silky thread is the second cut fleece from the under belly of the baby goat.
It’s no surprise that with a mixture of stripes, polka dots and a splash of sequins, I adore her new collection for AW17. If you’re a follower of What Brooke Wore, get ready to see some Alessandra pieces popping up soon!
Describe yourself in three words…
Passionate, kind and caring.
Where did the concept for Alessandra come from?
Born into the rag trade, I have been surrounded by a taste for beauty and quality my entire life. My parents gave me my first cashmere knit at 13 years of age, I always remember that jumper with such fondness. As for the name of the company, it’s my full first name, an obvious choice perhaps however it is in honour of my mum, who I miss every day, as she chose this name for me.
How long did it take for your idea and plans for Alessandra to become a reality?
A very fast six months, I just put my head down and just did it.
Are you organised or messy?
A bit of both. I like to think of it as organised chaos! And the rightful passage of any mum.
What are five things you can’t leave home without?
My glasses! A cashmere jumper (of course, it’s warm, lightweight and goes with anything), my visual diary (I’m old school, but it helps me put down anything that comes into my head instantly, my ideas and inspiration come at the most random times) healthy lunch (yes, I’m a health freak), and my fit bit (I’m trying hard to stay fit – I just discovered reformer Pilates at Happy Melon in Melbourne, it’s amazing!).
Do you remember your first fashion buy?
I’ll never forget it! I snuck out of school in Year 9 to tram into the city to buy a Robin Garland shirt, only $120 back then and I had to hide it from my mum.
What’s your favourite piece from your collection and why?
That’s a hard one as I love so many, for many different reasons. I love my first silver-grey grandpa cardigan which I designed, it’s still my ‘go to’ piece for any occasion, from studio to home, supermarket or yoga it’s with me. It might be 14 years old and patched holes in the elbow but it still looks gorgeous.
What does a typical day look like for you?
I’m going to say CRAZY! My alarm gets me up at 6 to 6.30am with a turbo-speed on to get ready, make breakfast for my youngest who is doing year 12, get him off to school then off to HQ by 8am or so. Sometimes I’ll try to squeeze in exercise before work., before I become engulfed the day. Much of my day is spent trouble shooting, brainstorming with the team, creating new designs or improving our bestsellers for new collections ahead, chatting with clients, and always administering humdrum chores.
Describe your favourite way to spend a Sunday…
An early rise with my latest obsession Pilates at 8.15am, then settled into a good coffee with a girlfriend, and a walk. I love to cook, so I’ll find some time at home, and reading and in winter lazing by the fire with whoever is home from the tribe. Then I’ll walk to Happy Melon by 4pm for a meditation session …. I’ll come home to dinner by the fire, made by the kids (yeah, right!).
What’s your favourite holiday destination and why?
The heavenly Ubud, in Bali. I go to a divine retreat where yoga, massage, meditation and gorgeous healthy food is the order of the day, for eight days of straight up bliss.
Who are your beauty and style inspirations?
Linda Rodin: because she is so damn comfortable in her skin. And, the new Gucci creative head Alessandro Michele: because he just does it the way he sees it, to great applaud.
If you could dress one person, living or dead, who would it be?
I’m too eclectic to choose just one…… but I have always admired the elegance and simplicity of Grace Kelly, I think she would’ve loved wearing an Alessandra piece.