A familiar face in the front row, the brilliant tv host and fashion programs producer Alexandra Golovanoff has embarked on a new (ad)venture and created her own brand of clothing: gorgeous cashmere sweaters, beautiful and chic, in an irresistible colour palette, which immediately garnered an enthusiastic nod from fashionistas around the world. Journalist, entrepreneur, and refined aesthete, Alexandra has always had a real passion for decoration and beautiful furniture, which she learned to love and appreciate since childhood, inspired by her parents who were antique dealers. And it was precisely while searching for the perfect piece for her living room that she met Charles Zana and, with time and lots of wooing, she convinced him to design the sofa of her dreams…
How did it start?
I am a big fan of Charles Zana. In fact, I admired his work long before we met, which happened a few years ago, while I was visiting AD Intérieurs, an exhibition showcasing the work of famed French interior decorators. Everything was very beautiful, of course, but the installation that really touched me was Charles’… He was there, we started talking, and it was serendipitous…
How do you go from a conversation during an exhibition to your beautiful sofa?
With a lot of patience! First, we had lunch, and then we met a couple more times and became friends. I started planting the idea of a sofa for my apartment in his mind… Time passed and, over the years, Charles became a friend of the family, and finally one evening, over dinner at our home, he said, “Okay, we’re doing the sofa.”
We had to design a sofa for our very large square-shaped living room, which was not easy. I chose a fabric that I really like – as does Charles – Pierre Frey velvet in a specific shade of honey. I have a passion for colours, but for this grand room I wanted a colour tone that blends into the décor, in dialogue with the parquet floor, which resonates with the wood of the furniture. This sofa is simple and complex at the same time, with its extraordinary size, its angle alone is more than one meter! This is a piece to cherish for life; you have to be truly confident to want it in your home…
Do you often fall in love with a piece of furniture?
To be honest, it’s the other way round: I have an idea of what I want and then I search for it. I imagine a setting that I decorate and fill in. Therefore, I know what I want, and then, sitting comfortably on my couch, I can spend hours surfing the Net to find THE piece I need. I like to mix neutral and bright colours, wood and metal, a touch of gold, some antique furniture…
In 2016, you launched your Alexandra Golovanoff Tricots cashmere collection: what made you do it?
I don’t have an explanation for it. It is a desire that is not rational, stronger than reason, like the desire to have children, without knowing what will happen. Having spent so many years on the other side of the fence, interviewing all the big names in fashion, attending all the fashion shows, constantly talking about… fashion, I felt I was becoming a little jaded. People in this world tend to forget that, behind a little dress, there is huge personal, emotional and financial investment. I wanted to rediscover this aspect, less visible but very important.
Your sweaters are a huge success: how do you explain this craze?
First, let me say that I am a self-taught designer, and that I do not pretend to be Galliano at Margiela’s! I try to be close to women, with one thing in mind: wearability. Italians talk about vestibilità, a word they use all the time, to express that a garment is so well made that it adapts to the person wearing it, and not the other way around. So I don’t design my sweaters for 17-year-old models who are 6 feet tall, rather I ask myself how it fits, if it’s comfortable, if the quality is excellent, if I can wear it with everything… the ultimate test: do I want to wear it? If the answer is yes, then it’s a winner!
After a corner at The Webster and Le Bon Marché, you’ve just opened your first store….
I wanted to have an address where customers can come by and sit down, talk, relax and try the clothes on… It’s a different experience than that of buying online: you discover the collection but also the aesthetics of my environment: It’s like my home with my furniture.
Which piece available on The Invisible Collection would you put on your wish list?
The Cabinet of Curiosities by Serge Castella
Photography ©Matthieu Salvaing