Tell us a bit about yourself.
I can’t recall the exact moment I decided to launch my own womenswear line, but it started bit by bit. By spring 2010, the “Alexandra Grecco” collection had come together. Since then, I’ve been working to create quality, well-constructed pieces informed by eras that I find inspiring. I also love the idea of providing an alternative, less wasteful approach to the mass-produced fashion mainstream.
I live in Brooklyn, New York, and my collection takes shape in what seems like a constant shuttling from my studio to the garment district in Manhattan. I’ve designed rompers, lingerie, gowns and hair accessories, and whenever possible I love to incorporate vintage materials. In addition to focusing on my spring 2012 collection, I’ve also been working on custom, vintage-inspired wedding gowns.
Apart from creating things, what do you do?
Recently, I’ve been trying to get out on my bike as much as possible. I also enjoy taking pictures with an old Nikkormat film camera that my dad bought decades ago.
Where does your inspiration come from?
I get a lot of inspiration from old movies, fashion history — especially from the Art Deco period —particular photographers (Wendy Bevan comes to mind), and sometimes just everyday things. I was also a ballet dancer growing up, and I think being surrounded by pastel tutus and sequined tiaras from a young age has permanently influenced the materials and the colors to which I’m drawn.
What does handmade mean to you?
You can tell when a piece of clothing has received a lot of love and attention — when someone has brought their vision to life in a small batch. The creator’s vision is clear and the care is apparent. For me, that’s handmade.
Who has been most influential in your craft?
Perhaps my grandmother. She’s a classy lady who always dresses well, and since I was a little kid, I’ve been digging through collections of beautiful clothes and old photographs; it’s the closest I can get to time traveling. She’s also taught me the art of building a wardrobe with a few well-made pieces that can last a lifetime.
When did you know you were an artist/maker?
When I was in high school, I often couldn’t focus on my academic studies and would skip certain subjects to sit in on the next art class. It’s where I felt most confident and content, and where I would have spent all day if I could have.
How would you describe your creative process?
I start by making a mess of my studio — filling it with fabric, sketchbooks, photographs and my dress form. Then I’ll turn on some good tunes. The goal is to immerse myself in some kind of self-made wonderland where my thoughts are fluid.
If you could peek inside the studio of any artist, designer or craftsman (dead or alive), who would it be?
Tim Walker. I’m sure his studio is filled with tree houses and tea cups.
What handmade possession do you most cherish?
The first pair of shoes I made my sister when we were kids. They were made of white lined paper and held together with staples. Ouch…
How do you get out of your creative ruts?
I try to avoid anything design-related for a little while. Lounging with a good book in the sun or a bike ride to the beach are helpful. Mini-escapes are necessary for recharging purposes, mental or physical.
Where would you like to be in ten years?
For now, I’m focusing on developing my brand further, so we’ll see where that takes me. Hopefully I’ll be in a small countryside home with a lovely studio, vegetable garden and plenty of fresh air! I’m not big on planning.