Alexandre Allard Changing the Fashion Industry One It-Girl at a Time
I had the opportunity to pick the brain of fashion entrepreneur Alexandre Allard. He is known to be one of the unusual suspect’s of the fashion industry. Alexandre Allard is the head of Group Allard, and one of the most creative fashion entrepreneurs and visionaries of our time.
His latest accomplishment is s relaunching downtown-cool fashion brand, Faith Connexion, with a new shop in Manhattan’s hippest neighborhood, SoHo. Since the relaunch, the brand has already been worn by style stars such as Gigi Hadid, Kerry Washington, Kim Kardashian, and Priyanka Chopra, among others. Since Alex took the reins, the brand has also launched a capsule collection with it-girl Sita Abellan, a DJ, and model who counts Rihanna as a fan.
Full Name: Alexandre Allard
Where from/background: Born in Washington, D.C. in 1969
City Based In Paris, Sao Paolo, and Rio de Janeiro
This is not Alexandre’s first time resurrecting an iconic brand – Alexandre was responsible for resurrecting the fashion brand House of Balmain, which needs no introduction. Take a look at any red carpet across the globe and you are likely to see the most sought-after girl there wearing a Balmain creation. Alexandre also created the most sought-after hotel in Paris, the Royal Monceau, and is truly a 21st Century driving creative force and trendsetter in the fashion industry. Read more and you find out that Alexandre is a real cool kid businessman. From his musical taste, to where he likes to hang out he is the man to watch.
SC: What caught your eye about Faith Connexion?
Alexandre Allard: Faith Connexion is an iconic brand with a proud history of being Parisian. Paris is close to my heart, as I spend a significant amount of my time working there. The brand’s robust creativity and ability to step outside of the boundaries while remaining luxurious drew me in. Faith Connexion is always seeking fresh inspiration and renewed energy to inspire its designs while keeping true to its diverse roots.
SC: What was your first memory of fashion?
Alexandre Allard: When I arrived in Paris from Africa, the first pair of shoes I bought for myself were bright red leather derbies. They were outside of the classic Parisian-chic style, but I adored them. A few years later, the artist Arman transformed them into a piece of art using his signature plexiglass box.
SC: What has been your favorite career moment so far?
Alexandre Allard: There have been two unparalleled creative performances of my career. Celebrating the beginning of the renovation process of the famed Royal Monceau Hotel in Paris, my first foray into heritage building renewal, we created a Demolition Party. In June of 2008, I invited thousands of guests, friends, and celebrities to take part in an artistic performance. Each given a helmet and a hammer, they were invited to demolish the rooms, corridors, and walls of the Royal Monceau. Meanwhile, 20 artists filled spaces of the hotel with art, videos, music, and performances.
Alexandre Allard Talks Fashion & Music
The second in 2014, for the first time in twenty years, the old Matarazzo Hospital opened its doors to a Creative Invasion. 100 Brazilian and non-Brazilian artists were each given a space to create their own experience, occupying corridors, gardens, and pavilions of the old hospital. The exhibition remained open for a month, giving the city’s cultural life a new landmark, and allowing many paulistanos to return to the place where they were born. Artists showcased included Tunga, Beatriz Milhazes, Vik Muniz, Xavier Veilhan, Jean-Michel Othoniel, Joana Vasconcelos, Laura Vinci & José Miguel Wisnik and more.
SC: Why Influencers? Why work with them?
Alexandre Allard: Influencer marketing is more powerful today than ever before. Brands now have the ability to reach target markets via word-of-mouth, using authentic personalities with credibility, that they already trust and follow. By partnering with influencers that align with Faith Connexion, we can engage, organically create content, and effectively impact consumers.
SC: Who is your dream designer to work with?
Alexandre Allard: I want to work with the next Yves Saint Laurent, the next best designer. Fashion is dynamic, and I am always looking for the next best venture.
SC: How does it feel to have a store in Soho?
Alexandre Allard: Faith Connexion aims to create a laboratory of young talent, experimenting with art, fashion and street culture.We chose Soho because it was at the forefront of the Graffiti movement and because it is where artists like Basquiat or Keith Haring made it enter the Pantheon of art. Graffiti is a symbol of Faith Connexion “man-made customization.” From working with local artists to spray paint a garment or a seamstress embroidering a jacket, guests are invited to customize their pieces on-site. Soho is the epicenter of urban culture, always allowing for generation of fresh ideas and understanding the millennial demand for unique pieces.
SC: What are you up to when you’re not rebuilding brands?
Alexandre Allard: I like to surf with my family in Ipanema.
SC: Where do you see yourself in five years?
Alexandre Allard: I am working on a special project that will not be on land, but a floating island of culture. I am happy to reveal more when the time is right.
SC: Why do you like to stay behind the scenes?
Alexandre Allard: It’s not that I prefer one to the other, but now I feel I can best use my passions to create something powerful.
SC: What would you change about the fashion game?
Alexandre Allard: I don’t believe in fast fashion. For me, Faith Connexion was an opportunity to collaborate with talented street artists and make unique quality pieces, garments of a value reaching far beyond the look of the season.
Faith Connexion believes in reusing pieces that previous generations left behind, giving them a new life, and creating a positivity energy. There is a beauty in this movement, just like renovating old buildings rather than erecting new ones.
A perfect example, at Cidade Matarazzo, we are creating an urban recycling program. To reinforce social and environmental policy, we are working closely with non-governmental organizations to recycle water, preserve the plethora of plants of the Mata Atlantica and boost the use of clean energy with the use of solar panels.
SC: What are you listening to right now?
Alexandre Allard: Fela Kuti, Alicia Keys, Caetano Veloso, Seu Jorge, Preta Gil. I love Brazilian Rappers like Hemicida and of course, I am always the talent of my friends Kanye West and Swizz Beatz.
SC: If you were a casting agent who would you book to be the next face of the brand?
Alexandre Allard: Graphic Artists from downtown Sao Paulo, Surfers from Rio de Janeiro and dancers from Samba school. Fashion is no longer about measurements and classic beauty. It’s about diversity and our capacity to recognize beauty in all of its forms. Brazil is a strong source of inspiration for me. The uniqueness of Brazil, of its soul, lies in its miscegenation, its mixture of people and cultures for over than 500 years.
Thank you, Alexandre Allard for letting us pick the brain of a serial entrepreneur.