— Style —

Alejandra Cicognani

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OWNER, A. CICOGNANI COMMUNICATIONS

By Brenda Coffee content editorial director Mark Grischke photographer Noel Sutherland

The book, Beyond Chic: Great Fashion Designers at Home, is sitting on a table in Alejandra Cicognani’s living room. A white Phalaenopsis orchid and a stylized, sterling silver cat sit nearby. Upon closer inspection, the cat turns out to be a purse with a braided silver chain. “Beyond chic” is an apt description for everything about Alejandra Cicognani.

Alejandra’s two-story, New York apartment reflects a sophisticated sense of style and flair. High ceilings, parquet floors, a spiral staircase and arched doorways showcase armless velvet sofas, distinctly European chairs and tables stacked with books and family photos in silver frames. Whether it’s her taste in photography, paintings, Pre-Columbian pottery or contemporary art, Alejandra Cicognani gives the credit to her friends.

IN LATIN AMERICA, THERE ARE CERTAIN THIRD-WORLD ISSUES. LIVING THROUGH REVOLUTIONS AND POLITICAL UPHEAVAL HAS GIVEN ME A GREAT APPRECIATION FOR LIFE IN THE UNITED STATES.

“I wish it was from me, but really, it’s from my friends. I know what I like, and what I don’t like. (Laughs.) That’s a good starting point. Then I have these wonderful friends, with great flair and a sense of proportion, and they helped me understand my own style. Ultimately, you make it your own.”

Fluent in English, French, Italian and Spanish, Alejandra Cicognani is a global woman. Her accent is exotic, and she speaks with a throaty purr. After earning a BA in History and French Literature from Boston College, and a Masters in Political Science from New York University, she went to work for an investment banking firm.

“As a financial analyst, I was working on a project that involved Cartier. Then I was offered a job, creating a marketing plan for Cartier. It was interesting to see how products evolve and how you can capture people’s imagination. Eventually, I went to work in fashion.

“I worked with Chloe, when Karl Lagerfeld came back… Little by little I moved to the luxury fashion business, and now, I have a boutique PR business in New York that I’ve operated for almost 14 years. I’m fortunate to work with niche brands and specialty products I really believe in –– they’re all luxurious, and very successful.”

When asked about her European sensibilities, Alejandra says, “I was married for a long time to an Italian and lived in Europe, but today, I don’t feel like I come from anywhere. New York is home, but I am from Nicaragua. Born in Mexico City.”

Alejandra Cicognani is a polished woman of strength and dignity. “I don’t know a Latin American woman who’s not strong.”

My guilty pleasure is a cigarette and a glass of rosé. It’s not so correct, but I enjoy it.

–Alejandra Cicognani

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Q and A with Alejandra Cicognani

with Alejandra

MOST IMPORTANT SURVIVAL SKILL

Staying calm, always. Look at the whole picture not only the immediate situation.

ON SUNDAY’S I LIKE TO…

Relax, read newspapers, listen to music, call my sisters, see close friends, exercise.

WHAT EMPOWERS YOU

Believing that what I am doing is what I like to do, and knowing I am doing the best I can.

WHAT THROWS YOU OFF YOUR GAME

People with no sensibility or generosity of spirit, no sense of humor, rudeness.

VALUE MORE THAN 20 YEARS AGO

I guess with time you value even more what you have always valued: family, friends, work.

MOST DARING THING YOU’VE EVER DONE

Starting my own business.

GREATEST ACCOMPLISHMENT

Watching my two daughters grow into healthy, generous, respectful, caring and intelligent human beings.

WHAT DO YOU ASPIRE TO

To see my daughters happy.

WHAT’S NOT WORTH IT ANYMORE

Having more than the essential.

WHAT SCARES YOU

Illness in anyone I love.

MOST TREASURED POSSESSION

A scapular my father was wearing when he died, and photos, letters, drawings from of my daughters when they were little.

ROLE MODEL

My mother.

BEST ADVICE YOU’VE RECEIVED

To always be considerate and respectful towards others.

WHAT RECHARGES YOUR BATTERIES

It depends. Sometimes a good workout at home on the elliptical and a steam bath, or a good walk in the park. But where I really recharge my batteries is in Brittany, where I go every year for vacation with my children and friends.

BOOKS OR TABLETS

Definitely books.

WHAT ARE YOU READING

Right now the letters of Louise de Vilmorin.

GUILTY PLEASURE

Having a glass of really cold rosé with a cigarette.

HIGH OR LOW MAINTENANCE

Very low maintenance.

STYLE NOW VERSUS 20 YEARS AGO

Very classic. I still wear a couple of things I had then, so I think my style has not changed, only today I have much fewer things than I had then.

FLATS OR HIGH HEELS

High heels, but not too high.

DRESSING FOR FALL OR SPRING

Both

DRESSUP OR CASUAL

Both, as the occasion requires.

FAVORITE DESIGNERS

Not one in particular, I like a few for different things. I have clothes from old Saint Laurent, Valentino, Marni, just got a dress from The Row! I also dress from an Italian seamstress that makes the best made-to-measure.

CLASSIC OR TRENDY

Definitely classic.

MISSING FROM YOUR CLOSET

Not a thing.

“GO TO” OUTFIT

Nice fitting jeans and a silk blouse.

HANDBAGE OF CHOICE

One that I got from my friend, designer Eduardo Wongvalle.

DEFINITION OF LUXURY

Feeling comfortable and happy.

BIGGEST SPLURGE

Traveling to new places.

FAVORITE INDULGENCE

Beauty treatments.

SHOP ONLINE

Very much so: books, house products, cosmetics.

DRUG STORE OR DEPARTMENT STORE

It depends, I go to both, but love drugstores in France.

LIPSTICK OR EYELINER

Lipstick every day, eyeliner seldom.

CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT BEAUTY PRODUCT

Serum and moisturizer for the face.


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