I was first introduced to the lovely Alessandra through her work as the marketing maven for LOVEthatBAG and quickly learned that there were so many interesting and dynamic sides to her. Not only is she a PR and communications wiz (she works for one of the country’s top firms specializing in these two fields), she’s also a passionate art lover who is a dealer and the founder of Citizen Atelier, one of Canada’s hottest emerging galleries. While based on-line, Citizen Atelier offers exclusive pop-up shopping events allowing clients to work closely with Alessandra to both start and continue to build their collections.
Alessandra is the definition of brains and beauty, balancing three careers she still maintains a rich life here in Montreal. Over coffee at her favorite Montreal cafe she dished on all things fashion, art collecting, and how she manages to balance her busy but rewarding life.
Tell us about yourself!
I am an art dealer and Creative Director of Citizen Atelier online art gallery. I source and curate art and limited-edition photography that appeals to a younger demographic who loves interior design. I’m also a PR and communications consultant in Montreal working with innovative brands and businesses from the world of fashion all the way to the tech sector. I wear many hats to say the least!
How would you describe your personal style?
Feminine, classic with a touch of edge. I have a paired down wardrobe of pieces I really love, with a focus on a neutral palette (black, gray, white) with glam accessories…I love leather jackets, fur vests, and statement jewelry. I have a small obsession with shoes (especially pumps!) and coats…they can make even the most basic outfit look instantly dressed up!
Who are your style icons?
I absolutely love Olivia Palermo’s style. She’s always elegantly put together and mixes feminine staples with contemporary pieces in such an inspiring and eclectic way. Miranda Kerr is another style favourite; she’s a perfect mix of classy and bombshell!
What trend/trends are you loving for winter?
For winter, I am currently loving over-sized sweaters in luxurious fabrics, over-the-knee boots and minimal jewelry…as well as anything in the colour gray!
What are the top three items on your fashion wish-list?
Accessories are my weakness! Right now I am lusting after:
-Givenchy Antigona bag,
-Black/gold Hermes cuff,
-Chanel espadrilles for Spring (they are sold out everywhere!).
Not only do you work as a communications specialist for one Canada’s premier communications and public relations firms, you’re also a small business owner and art dealer. How do you balance the many facets of your professional life?
Great question! It takes a lot of organization and late nights spent in front of the computer! I am really passionate about both PR and art so I really enjoy the balance, and the two fields complement each other in so many ways. I also find it really rewarding working with businesses and entrepreneurs to leverage their brand’s visibility. Their success becomes my success- for example, I’ve watched Love That Bag (a pre-owned designer bag site) grow from a small start-up to one of the largest online consignment boutiques in the country in a little over a year and a half!
A pretty agenda and lots of sleep are crucial too!
Your company Citizen Atelier offers “luxury art for urban living” and is bringing some of the hottest established and emerging photographers to the Canadian market, what inspired you to launch this project?
I have always felt that art has the instant ability to transform a space and give it life and character. There are so many young Canadians that love interior design yet I’ve heard time and time again they felt there are not many options for selecting art. There has been a gap in the market between high-end galleries that are often really pricey and big-box stores that sell mass-produced images. With Citizen Atelier, I wanted to curate a selection of pieces from both emerging and well-established artists at a range of price-points for the woman and man that has a keen eye for beautiful imagery and design. Our artists hail from around the world, from aerial beach photography by L.A. photographer Gray Malin to figurative oil paintings by French painter Eduardo Mata Icaza.
Many young people view art collecting as an expensive undertaking, any tips for starting your collection off without breaking the bank?
My philosophy has always been: acquire and collect art over time, and save up for that one piece you really love! Chose inspiring pieces that you really connect with. Beautiful art is timeless; it’s something you keep forever, like a Chanel handbag or family heirloom.
Also, I love starting a collection with limited-edition photography, as you can get a statement piece at a more affordable price. On Citizen Atelier, there are some very large images in the $250-300 range made with high-end materials like photo rag paper. Art is such a personal thing, don’t be afraid of mixing a higher-end piece you bought at a gallery or online art store with an antique flea-market find…or even a $20 drawing bought at a college art fair!
Who are your favorite photographers?
Discovering beautiful photography is my passion! All the photography in the Atelier are pieces I would choose for my own home.
Some other photographers I am really loving are Laurent Chehere and his Flying Houses series, Drew Doggett’s wild horse photography and Caroline Halley Des Fontaines’ magical and contemplative travel photographs.
You have 48 hours in Montreal, how do you spend it?
I’d start with breakfast at Leméac on Laurier, a mani/pedi with manicurist extraordinaire Tammy at Narcisse Spa and sipping on the city’s best coffee and reading magazines at Le Couteau on St. Denis. Next: relaxing and admiring the cityscape at Spa Bota Bota and dinner at Le Serpent, Grinder or Juni…The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and a walk in Old Montreal are always special and fun ways of immersing yourself in the city’s culture.