From Textiles to Text:The Making of Designer Alexa Pulitzer
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 invitations and is recognized also for adornments for the home and wardrobe. For nearly 20 years, Alexa Pulitzer, LLC has 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. After earning her BFA from the University of Denver, which included a year 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. This 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. The designer found an outlet in the company’s paper printing shop, where she started creating notepads using designs she might have used on silk ties. It was here, unintentionally that her dreams took root and Alexa realized how imperative it is to manufacture in the United States.
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 here on out for most of her 10 years at Wembley, the designer filled stationery orders at night and on weekends. 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. It was here, in August 2004, that the stationery service mark of Alexa Pulitzer, LLC, was born, a collection of papers now represented in over 1500 selective paperies and fine retailers across the globe, including Bergdorf Goodman, Liberty of London, and Anthropologie stores worldwide. Devoted and influenced by the city through which Alexa Pulitzer identifies herself, she is ever thankful of her local clientele.
In the post Hurricane Katrina renaissance, Alexa continues to contribute and thrive as a business and an individual. From her creative office on Esplanade Avenue, she creates logos for business of all sizes, proprietary collections for Bergdorf Goodman, Tory Burch, Mignon Faget, and Anthropologie; finesses many a wedding suite, and brilliantly executes 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 and Development along with the City’s administration offices. 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, on top of it all, Alexa is a devoted wife and the mother of two children, Kagan and Edge.
view Alexa's Curriculum Vitae »