From Textiles to Text:The Making of Designer Alexa Pulitzer
Photo by Sara Essex for The Scout Guide
When we consider artistic exports from the city of New Orleans, most often we think of music and cuisine, but there are artists of all kinds inspired by the saucy flavor, Old World sophistication, and cool attitude for which the Big Easy is known. In the case of Alexa Pulitzer, native culture mixes with vast experience abroad in creating sophisticated original paper collections. Steadily gaining attention throughout the world, the designer is highly sought out for her custom stationery and private label collections. For over 20 years, Alexa Pulitzer, LLC has proudly manufactured its products in the USA and grown to be one of New Orleans’ proudest exports.
Born into a family of like-minded artists and entrepreneurs, Alexa’s training began in her family’s textile company, Wembley Corporation. As a child, she accompanied her father, Arthur, on design and buying trips to Lake Como, Italy, designing her first tie to carry the Wembley brand at a mere 16 years of age. After earning her BFA from the University of Denver, which included a year abroad in Florence, Alexa headed back to Lake Como to apprentice for Ratti, designers and esteemed silk printers behind haute couture collections such as Prada, Versace and Ferragamo which led to further apprenticeships in Paris and Milan. In 1994, Alexa returned to New Orleans, bringing her newfound skills in design, fabric and color to Wembley. She also brought the language, sensibility and aesthetic of Italy into her daily life and artistry.
At Wembley, now called Randa Corp., Alexa designed and merchandised ties and boxers for popular brands such as Countess Mara, Tabasco, Save The Children, Endangered Species, ESPN and The Beatles. Stimulated by the challenge of these complex novelty designs, she was also frustrated by the artistic and corporate constraints that came with them. Alexa found an outlet in the company’s paper printing shop, where she started creating notepads using her neckware designs that were being discarded. It was here, unintentionally that her stationery company took root.
Wanting to thank her Italian employers, the artist spent extra hours in the paper shop creating a collection of postcards from her photographs of that time. Seeing these, friends urged her to show her work to a local stationer, who placed an order on the spot. From there on out for most of her 10 years at Wembley, the designer filled stationery orders at night and on weekends. Becoming the last Pulitzer to work at the empire founded by her grandfather, Sam, she ventured out on one more juncture, joining the couture linen company, Leontine Linens, before striking out on her own in 2004.
In the post Hurricane Katrina renaissance, Alexa Pulitzer continues to contribute and thrive as a business entity and an individual. From her creative office, she distributes a collection of papers now sold in over 1500 fine retailers across the globe. In addition to her wholesale collection, Alexa Pulitzer creates business identities and packaging; proprietary collections for the likes of Bergdorf Goodman, Tory Burch, Pottery Barn, Calypso, Mignon Faget, The New Orleans Museum of Art, and Anthropologie; bespoke wedding invitations and stationery; and countless other custom projects, each with precision and attention from their start to finish.
Alexa graciously serves as a goodwill ambassador to the city, having offered her craft and service pro bono to rebrand the Office of Recovery & Development, and most recently, was asked to design a logo to brand her beloved New Orleans as it celebrates its’ 300th Anniversary in 2018. Driven by the beat of New Orleans and the belief that what goes around comes around, Alexa incessantly hosts and entertains boundlessly, introducing people to one another and giving guests of the Crescent City an insider’s perspective of everything there is to love about the people and favored cultural make up of her beloved home.
Speaking of home, Alexa is a devoted wife and the mother of two children, Kagan and Edge.
view Alexa's Curriculum Vitae »