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The New Luxury: Alessandra Ambrosio, Model, Designer, and Social-Media Phenomenon

"For me, quality defines luxury, whether it is in a beautifully crafted object or a memorable experience..."

Photo by Timur Emek/Getty Images

Model, designer, and social-media phenomenon 

Alessandra Ambrosio has made a career of embodying the good life, whether modeling in glossy campaigns for Gucci and Christian Dior or, most famously, donning angel wings for the Victoria’s Secret catwalk. She is also a savvy social-media phenomenon, with a total of more than 11 million followers on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, where her motto is “forever on vacation” and her posts range from chic street style in Paris to poolside moments with her two children at home in Los Angeles. Most recently, she has parlayed her enviable lifestyle into a lifestyle brand, Ále by Alessandra, offering swimwear and breezy fashions for every day.  —MICHALENE BUSICO

For me, quality defines luxury, whether it is in a beautifully crafted object or a memorable experience: anything that puts a smile on my face. I have been fortunate to travel the world, and those special moments along the way—so often the result of impeccable service—are the ones I remember best. As a consumer, that attention to detail, aesthetics, and careful craftsmanship are the reasons I return to those places and remain loyal to those brands. They speak to me, whether it is in the familiar voice of a luxury icon such as Chanel or Dior or in one of the newer voices of a small, artisanal line. 

Social media has given those smaller brands a global voice and a platform to reach a wider audience, particularly millennials. After years of working in the fashion industry as a model and now a designer and creator of my own clothing line, I’ve found that millennials respond to brand-name collections and items that celebrities and other influencers are wearing, but at the end of the day they commit to products they love and feel great in. I want consumers to come back again and again to my brand, Ále, because of the quality of the product, design, and fit.


I also stay true to my personal style. The pieces in my collection often have jewelry-inspired trims, feathers, embroidery, pure silk fabrics, and prints. I like to say my style is Brazil bohemian meets Malibu chic; I love flowy dresses, layered pieces, and unique materials. I wear the collection consistently in my everyday life so it’s easy and natural for me to promote it through my social channels. My social media is a direct reflection of who I am, and I love that my followers are first exposed to Ále in this way.

 With so many new voices competing for attention in luxury, it’s also important to have a strategic mix of advertisement and self-promotion, and endorsements from influencers or experts. They definitely have an impact. But like most millennials, my buying decisions are ultimately based on my style and aesthetic, and the luxury of having time to shop. The truth is, for me, luxury shopping is also anything that’s quick—whether I’m in a store or online.

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