Created by Alexandra Heard and Heleena Trahanas, ALEX AND TRAHANAS is a stunning Australian lifestyle brand, which is the result of Heleena and Alexandra’s love for “the staggering beauty of summer on the Mediterranean.”
The classic label features garments, accessories and entertaining pieces inspired by their travels to Europe and beyond- where they visit frequently to source the finest of fabrics, materials and production methods.
IN+SIGHTS GREECE recently spoke with both creators about their successful brand, their latest collection, as well as their love for the Greek islands.
Tell us about your lifestyle brand. When was it launched and what was the concept behind it?
ALEX AND TRAHANAS was launched in 2017- aiming to bring the Mediterranean to Australian waters. It is curious about how we undertake life’s every day and special ceremonies, and is driven to create pieces that elevate these moments through quality timeless design. Our passion for travel and culture inspired us to create a platform in 2017, which allowed us to share collectable pieces and experiences.
What inspires your creations and how would you describe your designs?
The Mediterranean inspires the brand throughout. We really wanted to bring a taste of the Mediterranean to Australia and create our own little Europe through the curated world of ALEX AND TRAHANAS which includes; linen garments -designed and made in Australia, ceramics from the south of Italy to elevate life’s delicious ceremonies of effortless long rolling lunches, along with collaborations with artists and designers we admire. ALEX AND TRAHANAS is a way of life, a way of being, which echoes life lived in the Mediterranean.
What do you love most about what you do?
We love that work and play are intrinsically connected, it’s a way of life, we love what we do.
What are a few of your favourite pieces from your latest fashion collections?
We love it all! We’re excited about some new pieces we’ve added to our tablescape, such as our Roman Banquet candle, 100% beeswax, handmade in Bondi. This is a collaboration with one of Australia’s most talented creatives, Tony Assness. We’re also excited to continue our jewellery collaboration with Louise Olsen- together we’ve designed some new earrings inspired by Chifferi pasta. We’ll also be whisking through summer wearing our new Ischia dress and Fruittivendelo unisex shirt and shorts.
Some of your beautiful creations are inspired by Greece. Tell us more about those?
We’re definitely drawn to the calming palette of blue and white, which is so prevalent in Greece, it brings back memories of all the beautiful seaside spots.
Where are your pieces made?
Our ceramics are handmade by artisans in Puglia, in the south of Italy. They are all hand painted, making each one of a kind. We also work locally with artists such as Louise Olsen whom we collaborate with to make jewellery, and also Tony Assness who makes our 100% beeswax candles in Bondi, Sydney.
Heleena, tell us about your family connection to Greece?
My grandparents migrated from Greece. My family are from the Peloponnese, from Tripoli, Selianitika and Akrata.
How often do you travel to Europe and what are some of your favourite summer destinations in Greece?
We travelled twice a year to Europe to source new treasures, we are always seeking out to find pieces to build the Mediterranean lifestyle in Australia. We love Milos and Hydra, the more untouched islands.
Over the last few years you’ve visited Sifnos and Hydra, where would you recommend to eat, drink & swim?
Swim: Poulati, Vathi, Platos Yialos.
Eat: For lunch we recommend Cheronissos Fish Tavern and Manolis in Vathi. For dinner head to Taverna Chrisopigi in Perivoli and To Xryso in Artemonas.
Swim: You can find little beaches all along the small island of Hydra, boats are frequent or you can walk. Mandraki, Spilia, Castello, Vlychos Beach.
Eat: To Pefkaki for lunch, Kodylenias, Techne Restaurant, Xeri Elia.
Drink: Hydronetta, Sunset Restaurant.
What are a few key pieces from your collections that you always pack with you when visiting the Mediterranean?
Our white aloe-vera infused Italian linen Summer Shirt Dress, the navy Aperitivo Dress, the striped Giorgia dress from our collaboration with Masseria Moroseta, as well as our aloe-vera infused Italian Linen Shirt and Summer tailored shorts (the perfect set). We always work to an effortless, throw-on, beach-to-apertivo uniform on our European summer travels.
You also love entertaining. What are a few of your favourite dishes/desserts you enjoy making for family and friends?
We do! We actually live for it. Each time we entertain we select a cuisine or particular region, and explore recipes which originate from there. For the most case, everything we make is for the first time a part from a few cuisine-specific classics such as prawn saganaki and Spanakopita (for Greek menus) and fresh pasta (for Italian menus). Dreaming up the menu is our favourite part – there is always lots of back and forth sharing of recipes, images and ideas. We think a lot about the balance of dishes to make up a truly delicious occasion and about the mouth-watering flavour and texture combinations. Recently we enjoyed making a grilled squid, cavolo nero, chili, garlic and parsley dish from our good friend David Lovett, as well as an almond granita which was so elegant and refreshing after a sprawling dinner party feast.
What are some of your tips for simple and elegant table styling when entertaining?
Table styling should be fun and relaxed, never stuffy. Think about textures, linen, abundance, statements and lighting. When the table is set in a gorgeous mix of colours, heights, shapes and textures it really sets the tone for the occasion. Enjoy the ceremony of styling the pieces you’ve collected over time. For us, it’s Apulian hand-painted ceramics, Italian wine tumblers and colourful water glasses by Bitossi and a linen table cloth, sometimes layered with a table runner from Puglia.
Where would you like to explore next for work and play?
Andros, we can’t wait!