“It started immediately,” president of Faith Connexion Maria Buccellati says at the opening of her first New York store with the same aura of cool that her clothing brand exudes. “Kanye came in and sat in our office and immediately told me he liked our creatives. Then we had Swizz Beatz and Alicia Keys, Future, Rihanna … ,” She pauses to think. “And Rita Ora. There is a real appetite for the style of the brand,” she adds. It’s that style, not to mention the celebrity clientele, that has helped the brand achieve a next-level cool factor.
The night of the flagship’s opening party, VIPs like rapper DeJ Loaf and DJ Sunnery James (Doutzen Kroes’s hubby) were in attendance. “What could be better?” beams Buccellati. As the scion of the Buccellati jewelry empire, she straddles the worlds of high fashion legacy brands and youth-focused streetwear. For the past seven years, Buccellati, with CEO Alexandre Allard, has built Faith Connexion to embody street with a couture twist, utilizing a client list of cultural power-players. “Swizz Beatz came in the day before we opened our store and bought [so many] pieces. He’s also gifting me a speaker for the DJ zone downstairs,” Buccellati says. “And Alicia customized five pieces for her concert tour.”
When it came to the brand’s two-floor Soho flagship, Buccellati enlisted Rockwell Group alum and ASR Design founder Anne-Sophie Rosseel to renovate the space to reflect the “world of Faith,” as Buccellati puts it. “It’s not easy to just go find an architect. They have to speak our language,” she says. For inspiration, Rosseel looked to the textile factories and streetscapes of turn-of-the-century New York. The result is luxury done the Soho way: blackened steel and brass fittings in the in-house atelier, beautiful silk carpets, and rough cement walls. Meanwhile, spray-painted workshop counters mark the presence of “Faith by Me,” the brand’s contemporary, bespoke element, and the service used by Alicia Keys for her one-of-a-kind tour pieces.
“As president of this company, I’ve worked in a creative way, not in a corporate way,” Buccellati says. This collaborative environment, which Buccellati calls her “creative hub,” includes Austin Blaisdell, Faith Connexion’s 22-year-old designer known for combining minimal fashion concepts with accents of distress and destruction. “Here, it’s really freestyle,” Buccellati says, “and that’s heaven.” This atmosphere has also fostered creative partnerships between Faith Connexion and labels like denim brand NTMB (Never Too Much Basic) and the Italian athleisure company Kappa. For Faith’s most recent partnership, the brand linked up with influencer and Rihanna-approved model Sita Abellan for a capsule collection of nine “techno-princess” pieces.
It’s fashion, it’s street and it’s got a story—and part of that story is Buccellati’s continued desire to take the brand where it’s never gone before. “The new season has particularly been the most complicated collection,” Buccellati admits, in light of all the changes the brand saw during its Soho expansion. But, she suggests, isn’t change and a little bit of discomfort the surest sign of growth? “At the end, [change] is where our best inspiration comes from.”
Runway Images: Courtesy of Faith Connexion