A moment with Heleena Trahanas


PHILE Stories | Heleena Trahanas

Images by Kath Mclean @kathsbrightphotos

Heleena Trahanas is that girl. You know the one we’re talking about. The girl you've seen at a gallery launch and has since been etched into your memory.

The Sydney-based PR and Marketing Manager at Dinosaur Designs is a unicorn amongst a crowd of black-clad fashion girls and a literal embodiment of the celebrated brand.  

Each finger is adorned with one (or five) of their signature brass rings and her slender wrists are stacked elbow-high with bangles that ring out with a soundtrack to her steps. Heleena's clothes are no quieter, with an edit of new-season pieces by [enter: Marni/Dries/Celine] all perfectly paired to create a vision of chic maximalism.

After years working at the global success story that is Dinosaur Designs, Heleena has freshly embarked on a new creative challenge, launching a lifestyle label with her business partner Alex Heard named Alex & Trahanas. The brand is a classic edit of Aloe Vera-infused linen core garments and handmade Apulian ceramics.

Most recently, Heleena’s collaborated with Louise Olsen of DD to launch a jewellery collection exclusively available on Alex & Trahanas. We quizzed her on all of the above, plus some.

Talk us through a typical day in your life…

The first thing I do when I wake is check my phone, it is almost glued to me. I take a scroll through Instagram and check emails which come through overnight. Dinosaur Designs has two international stores, one located in New York and the other in London, so there are bound to be emails. After that, each day can vary. I have regular catch-ups with Louise Olsen and Stephen Ormandy (co-founders of Dinosaur Designs) and our general manager, there is always something to talk about.

Throughout the day you’ll often find me in Louise’s office. We have conversations about all things Marketing & PR like press requests, photoshoots, planning the launch of a new collection, special projects and exhibitions. These then evolve into chats about the wider fashion and design world. At some point during the day, I like to regroup with my assistant - we dedicate time to planning and shooting content for social media. In the evenings I might have an industry event to attend or a Skype meeting with our international press offices. 

How’d you land the role?

I graduated with a Bachelor of Business at the University of Technology Sydney, majoring in Advertising and Promotions Management. Prior to Dinosaur Designs, I worked in publishing at News Magazines, across sales and marketing the events teams for Vogue Living, Vogue Australia, GQ, Inside Out and Country Style and prior to this at Gourmet Traveller. The world of publishing started to change and after years of working in magazines, I left and applied for the PR and Marketing Manager role at Dinosaur Designs. I’ve always wanted to work in-house for a brand I am truly passionate about.

What inspired you to launch ALEX AND TRAHANAS?

Apart from being passionate about Dinosaur Designs, I am also passionate about travel, food, design, fashion and culture. To be honest ALEX AND TRAHANAS was not exactly in the life plan, but I was approached by my now business partner Alexandra Heard, and took the opportunity. Alex and I wanted to bring our passions to life and create a world in which all these things come together, to elevate the every day.

Describe the ethos of the brand…

When we think about the lifestyle, we picture a scene with our closest friends and family on a glorious bougainvillea-filled terrace overlooking the Mediterranean. In this scene, we are dressed in effortless linens and are entertaining with beautiful ceramics, delicious food and wine.

We know that Australians and people all over the world share this ideal, so it is this vision of celebrating these moments in life that drives our brand. We are crafting the ALEX AND TRAHANAS world to give people the chance to create enriching, elevated experiences through quality garments and objects.

Where do you look for inspo?

Our life-long endeavour of seeking out coastal villages, trattorias and tavernas provide a limitless source of inspiration.

The art of entertaining – reading about how people have entertained throughout time, the ceremonies and special experiences that were created.

Menswear and tailoring. We are inspired by the simple silhouettes of men’s garments and the care and quality that goes into tailoring.

Your personal style in a nutshell…

I have too many styles! Eclectic avant garde, contemporary, androgynous, comfortable, kooky, fun, playful, creative, normcore. 

Favourite designers?

Comme des Garçons, Dries Van Noten, Celine, Loewe.

On your wish list…

To forever travel and to continue to create.


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