The many creative disciplines of Argentine artist and designer Alejandra Giraud come together in surreal and fascinating compositions that feel like windows into another realm. From fashion to furniture, the objects she creates are simple and minimalist, but they take on a whole new meaning within the context of fine art photography.
Models wear enormous woven hats, textural fabrics twisted into complex silhouettes, and long ribbon-like swaths of paper and gauzy garments, all set within sandy landscapes evocative of the desert at dusk. Giraud describes her style as “authentic, organic, and timeless,” and it’s clear from her compositions that her vision is inspired by global travel. But above all, it’s emotion that forms the undercurrent of her work. “We are the ones who give objects soul and energy,” she once told Marie Claire magazine.
Giraud started her career with ten years of textile development, helping big fashion brands with everything from design and embroidery to the art direction of their shop windows. Then, in 2009, furniture design captured her imagination, and her first brand, Costado, was born. Eventually, the designer realized she wanted to bring all of her interests together into one collection under her own name. In 2018, she closed Costado and opened her new shop, Mono Giraud.
The industrial influences she once favored for her furniture designs softened and became more neutral and organic, infused with plant fibers, vegetable dyes, bamboo, rattan, and materials sourced from her local region. As you might expect, Giraud’s studio, set in a 1920 building within the San Martín y Perón neighborhood of Buenos Aires, is awash in natural materials and rough-hewn wooden objects, including silk thread from Indonesia woven on-site. Indeed, everything you see in her studio seems to have its own particular character and history.
Unlike many crossovers between fine art and fashion, just about everything you see in Mono Giraud’s photography is available for sale. Giraud outfits the models with the goods from her store.
“I wanted to unite the product with people, add my aesthetics and see what it transmitted,” she explains. “I really like improvisation, doing things that I have no idea but with a lot of trust because I know I’m going to use all the tools I have in my backpack. I don’t plan the photos, I take them on the premises, the fabric is thrown, [and] I begin to see what happens, what it transmits.”
Refreshingly, Giraud’s approach to selling her wares is similarly loose and improvisational. When people drop into her shop, she encourages them not just to take their time and experience everything she has on offer, but to chat like old friends. She serves them coffee in a living room and gives them personal attention, because for her, making them happy means giving them an “emotional experience.”
This philosophy shines through in every photograph of Giraud’s work. The process is just as important as the results, with everything transformed by her own hands and unique vision. You can keep up with her work on Instagram @monogiraud.