just in this month

MY FASHION LIFE Alexandra Golovanoff

The journalist, presenter and designer talks to The Style Report about personal style and the skirt that started her love affair with fashion.

Words by Marie-Cybèle Muysers.
Photography by Fiona Torre. Fashion by Helen Thomson.

‘I never really set out to be creative, it’s more of a permanent state. I've done a lot of different things – I believe you can be creative in any situation.’ Journalist, presenter, mother and more recently, designer; Alexandra Golovanoff does it all. Born and raised on Paris’s right bank, her adult life has always revolved around the left bank, where she lives today. In perfect alignment with her own style, the apartment she calls home has a handsome, almost manly energy. ‘I think that often the harmony you create with your look is something that also extends to your home. For me, it's a mix but I think my universe is relatively masculine for a woman – solid wood, no frills – and I have a tendency to dress the same.’

A self-confessed bargain hunter (she admits to spending entire nights online looking for the perfect piece), interiors have always been a big part of Golovanoff’s life. The daughter of antique dealers from whom she inherited her eye for beauty, she falls firmly in the category of those who value quality above quantity. ‘I have a real love of beautiful things, what in French we call les belles choses. I find myself getting emotional over a piece of wood that’s acquired a unique patina over time and has a story. I have an immense, intense respect for that sort of thing, for the poetry of things that can’t be reproduced ad infinitum, and I feel the same about fashion.’

Comfort is a recurrent theme for Golovanoff (‘I’ve never been able to suffer for the sake of an outfit,’ she says) and played a leading role in her first love affair with fashion. ‘The first time I really became aware of la mode was Alaïa in the 1980s. I found his silhouettes super sexy, but there was also this idea of knitwear in his clothes, that flexibility of movement. The body felt free and I liked that. I need to feel good in clothes, not constrained.’ Determined to own one of his pieces, she saved every penny she had before making her way to his atelier, not far from where she now lives. ‘So there I was with all my little coins,’ she remembers. ‘I must have been about 15. I rang the doorbell and found myself face-to-face with him. “What do you want?”, he said. I replied, “A skirt!” And so he picked out a skirt for me. It was beige, which he chose because of the colour of my hair, in a slightly elastic fabric and cost me about 500 francs. I still have it to this day.’

Having spent her television career interviewing everyone from designers to economists and politicians, Golovanoff isn’t short of anecdotes involving legendary figures. One such figure was the late Karl Lagerfeld with whom she spent countless hours travelling and talking. ‘He was an incredibly generous person. Even now when I’m not sure what to do I ask myself, “What would Karl do?”’ The Style Report finds out more.

ON GROWING UP

‘I have a very creative family. One sister is a landscaper, the other is an architect and because my parents are antiquaries, they know how to do absolutely everything with their hands, from painting to knitting and sewing. For them, nothing is off limits and everything is possible. So I grew up with the mentality that it is possible turn ideas into reality and that sometimes you try and fail, but you always learn by doing.’

ON HER DAILY ROUTINE

‘I start with breakfast – very important! Then everything depends if I’m in a rush or not. Obviously, my ideal routine would be to never wake up before 8.30am and to work out in the morning. If I can, I like to spend some time at home tidying up and thinking to ease myself into the day, instead of just rushing off to work. Having said that, my laptop is always under my arm and my phone is always in my hand – I'm always doing something.’

ON HER STYLE

‘I've always loved military clothes. Back in high school, I would wear this admiral’s jacket with lots of gold bullion and decorations, moccasins and slightly oversized jeans – it was super chic. For the evening, I usually keep the same pair of jeans on if I think they have a certain something. Then I’ll maybe add some sandals and a cashmere jumper, but black with a sparkle or a shimmer to it, a beautiful necklace or earrings and that’s it. And a bit of make-up, of course. For a really big event, it’s usually Miu Miu. What I love about the brand is that it’s fun, with this slightly offbeat side to it. Plus, there’s also something quite girly about the Miu Miu woman, which I really like. And then, of course, there's the shared fascination for socks!’

ON HER MUST-HAVE PIECES

‘For sure a pair of jeans. A white, slightly fitted, short-sleeved crew-neck T-shirt. A cashmere jumper or two – you never know – and a pair of boots, probably slightly cowboy-esque. And finally a tailored blazer, with one or two buttons.’

ON HER PERFECT DAY

‘Ideally, you've walked outdoors, the weather was good, you’ve seen people, had some great ideas, shared a laugh and been efficient. And if on top of that you’ve learnt something... well, that's the dream!’

TAP FOR CREDITS

HAIR & MAKE-UP LES FILLES. PRODUCTION ELLA CUTTER. FASHION ASSISTANT BETHANY FERNS.

The Style Report
The Style Report
THE STYLE REPORT