Tamarama-based duo Alexandra Heard and Heleena Trahanas have made that dream a reality with their online lifestyle studio ALEX AND TRAHANAS.
The pair, who met while working in publishing on the likes of Vogue Australia, Vogue Living and GQ, have channelled their mutual passion for travel and culture to create a platform which allows them to share collectable garments, pieces and experiences.
Their project is a labour of love and offers curated fashion and entertaining pieces which draw on their travels to Europe and beyond in search of the finest of fabrics, materials and production methods.
“We’re fascinated with how society undertakes life’s everyday and special ceremonies,” they said.
“We wanted to create a project which allowed us to elevate these moments in life, from enjoying a simple meal at home, to an aperitivo session with friends, from what we wear to plates on the table.”
Entitled ‘Aperitivo Hour’, the duo’s first collection boasts delicate Italian linen dresses and Apulian hand-painted ceramics, inspired by the warmth of southern Italian hospitality.
The collection is perfect for the person who loves to entertain, indulging in good food, good wine, and good times with friends.
“To us, the dress is a piece you would wear whilst serving up lunch in our ceramics to friends on a terrace in Tamarama, Sorrento, Puglia or Formentera,” the pair said.
The collection’s locally manufactured dresses feature two styles and come in three neutral hues: white, navy and forest green.
The women’s hunt for the best quality linen mills saw them travel extensively in Europe and beyond, inevitably landing in the home of fine textiles: Italy.
They ended up sourcing their fabric from one of the oldest and most prestigious mills in Italy, Loro Piana.
“It was great to see that the factory hasn’t moved from its original location in the mountains of northern Italy,” they said.
“It’s important to us to have this feeling of quality and process behind our garments.”
The other half of the collection comprises plates and vases painted in colours which ooze Mediterranean beauty.
The handmade items are crafted and hand-painted by a small artisan from Puglia, a southern Italian region famous for its ceramics.
“The ceramicist sits on a timber stool with shutter doors that open out to the cobbled streets and white-painted village, whilst listening to opera and drinking an espresso,” the women said.
“It’s absolutely the opposite of mass production. We were told ‘sometimes he makes and sometimes he doesn’t’!”
ALEX AND TRAHANAS is showing no signs of slowing down, and the brains behind the brand are currently working on their second collection, set to launch in May and featuring linen “travel essentials” for those exploring Europe in the summer months.
The pair are preparing to return to southern Italy in July to shoot their next collection, and plan on making regular trips to the Belpaese – “for business of course!”
“We love the warmth and hospitality we’ve experienced through our travels to Italy and Italians’ passion for food and culture,” they said.
“There is so much so see and so much variation in landscape and cuisine from each town or city.”
As though Ms Heard and Ms Trahanas weren’t busy enough, they’re also breathing life into their third collection, dedicated to summer linen pieces, which they expect to launch in September.
Now, thanks to this creative duo, we can all enjoy a taste of Europe from wherever we happen to be in the world.