For many, the idea of a brick wall has a bad connotation, as in “I have hit a brick wall”, but for Marie Audier D’Alessandris a brick wall became an inspiration for a wonderful business idea.

Marie was born and raised in Paris. After many years as a marketing executive for the beauty company L’Oréal, Marie and her husband took a sabbatical and moved to Bogotá, Colombia. They made their home in a beautiful historic apartment building designed by the renowned Colombian architect Rojerio Salmona. The “Alto de Pinos” building was built between 1964-70 and was made entirely of brick. While it created a beautiful contrast on the exterior with the abundance of plants surrounding the area, making for a striking color combination of the deep red of the bricks with the greens of the plants, it was the inside of the apartment that had all brick walls that made Marie rethink things. She was accustomed to white walls and felt a bit overwhelmed by so much brick, so she took images from some shoots she had been on, contrasted them, cropped them, and printed them in a large format. The idea was to cover the brick in an interesting way. She was pleasantly surprised when anyone who came to her apartment instantly fell in love with the images.

When she and her family moved back to France and lived in two different apartments, with her favorite white walls, she hung the same images and again was met with a positive reaction. Finally, when they settled in NYC in 2006, they first lived in a modern penthouse apartment and then moved into their current pre-war apartment and again the photographs were the stars of the apartments. In each space and country, totally different from each other, the original photographs that she had made in Colombia always received the same strong response – people loved them. Marie then had an “Aha” moment. During her years as a beauty industry executive, she was on many advertising shoots where she witnessed all of the hard work that went into making an image from pre-production and creative ideas to the teamwork involved in shooting the photo and even post-production, and how that image would have a short life span (in a magazine, on a billboard) and then disappear. She thought about how she could give a second life to these images. She also had another insight while a Chief Marketing Officer at Coach when she witnessed the collapse of print (she placed ads in magazines) and therefore wanted to invest in digital. So, the idea of her online gallery came together and The Selects Gallery was created in 2018. She delves into photographer’s archives and finds the “sleeping giants” that would have not seen the light of day and creates large format editioned prints. And she means large, as the smallest print is available in size 24 x 36 inches and the largest is 58 x 87 inches. Her mission was to change the perception of fashion photography and for people to discover these hidden gems. We are so happy that she hit the brick wall and turned it into her dream project of celebrating the beauty of fashion photography. We chatted with Marie to find out more about the gallery and what inspires her.

Can you please tell us a bit more about why you started The Selects Gallery.

I had a long career in the beauty and fashion industry and I was fortunate enough to spend a lot of time on fashion/editorial and advertising shoots. While working with the best photographers to create these images I saw the amount of work, talent and money that went into a fashion or beauty photo. It is a very creative and thoughtful process that brings together the best talents, from scouting the right locations, to stylists, makeup artists, hairdressers, creative teams, models and obviously the photographer. So much effort for such short-lived results! I always thought that it was such a waste that these beautiful images will be seen for such a limited amount of time, particularly for editorial pictures which are usually published for a month in a disposable magazine. I decided I wanted to give these images a second life, and this is how The Selects Gallery was born. I knew it was a risk to leave my corporate job to pursue my artistic vision. It was nerve-wracking but it was a project that was dear to my heart, always, for 15 years I thought about it. I felt that if I never got to do it I would regret it. We scout the best images in the archives of renowned fashion and beauty photographers and offer them in large format, museum quality and limited editions. We also frame the prints in customizable frames and ship them directly to the client.

Please tell us about some of the photographers that you represent.

We feature works from renowned contemporary Fashion and Beauty photographers who continue to work today such as Kenneth Willardt, Sylvie Castioni, Greg Lotus, Emmanuelle Hauguel and Richard Phibbs. We also have images from iconic photographers of the late ‘70s, ‘80s, and ‘90s such as Andre Carrara whose timeless images became a cornerstone for French Marie-Claire and Maire-Claire bis from 1980-2000, Giovanni Gastel who was one of the most famous Italian photographers in Italy and Rose Hartman who took many of the famous photos from Studio 54 including Bianca Jagger riding on a white horse.

You also have the estate of Chris von Wangenheim?

Yes, we are thrilled to represent this important photographer’s estate. Chris radically challenged the public taste with high fashion photographs capturing the zeitgeist and cultural changes of the 1970s. He ranked alongside Helmut Newton and Guy Bourdin. His images have remained largely unseen since his tragic death at age 39 in 1981. I am working with his estate and I am reaching out to stylists, makeup artists, models etc. who worked with him so that we can build up and preserve his legacy in the history of photography. He is best known for his provocative yet extremely attractive images such as the Vogue shoot of a model with a seemingly aggressive Doberman dog which is widely considered the most memorable fashion image of the ‘70s. He left a profound legacy and lasting influence that still influences photographers and designers today such as Steven Klein and Marc Jacobs. We are honored to help keep his legacy alive.

What is next for the gallery?

We are so thrilled that we have just added 2 new photographers to the gallery (Jacques Olivar and Adebayo Jolaoso) and 2 additional photographers will be announced soon.

What do you do to feel inspired?

Spending time with the artists that I work with greatly inspires me. They are the pulse of what is going on and I always feel inspired by their insights. I also read a lot and do a lot of research. Every morning I read The New York Times.


Why should art, especially fine art photographs, be a vital part of a design scheme for homes, offices, hotels etc.?

Including art in one’s home really reflects the owner’s personality. It brings out another layer of one’s tastes, beliefs, point of view on society. I find that people who are more edgy and are in the pulse of things have a lot of photographs in their interiors. I recently wrote an article about this and I posed the question, “what is the common point between Kim Kardashian, Dakota Johnson and Bruce Willis?” It is that they have their homes filled with fine art photographs on their walls. I also feel that selecting photography is similar to how an interior designer designs a space as with a photograph there can be a purity of the composition, black & white or intense colors which are very striking and all of this can create a deep and impactful layer in the design.

For inspiration on living with art, please look at the “Scrapbook” Instagram Highlights @theselectsgallery where Marie creates beautiful scrapbook pages showing inspirational interiors by designers, creatives and influencers.

Was there an editorial/ad shoot that you were a part of and still think about?

I shot a lot with the photographer Kenneth Willardt for Maybelline, Garnier and L’Oréal. He was one of the few photographers who did not mind having a lot of people on set. I really connected with Kenneth and we became friends. In fact, he was one of the earliest photographers to join The Selects Gallery along with my dear friend Emmanuelle Hauguel. The first photographers to join my gallery were all great friends. I had a respect and love for their photographs and getting to know the photographers personally enabled me to understand their vision and to decode their artistic vision.

You champion editorial photography at your gallery. What do you think about the future of magazines?

I believe that print magazines are becoming closer to being like books. It seems like many magazines have decreased their publication to only several times a year and in a way I think that is a good thing. You can see this in magazines such as CR Fashion Book, System, Numéro – they are moving closer to becoming like coffee table books and collectible issues. The secret for magazines to survive is to reduce the frequency as they will never win against digital in the game of speed. The magazines that take a step back and make a statement with the content and photographs will last. They will become more like a reference, a guide, to immerse the reader in the latest trends, decode, disrupt. I love how today photographers in magazines are trying to change society through representation and diversity. For instance, the February issue of British Vogue with a cover photo of nine black models, is just stunning! I think having intention behind the photographs is essential. In the 1970’s, Helmut Newton, Chris von Wangenheim and Guy Bourdain were considered “The Terrible 3” because their photographs were meant to shock and to show the violence that was happening in society at that time. Now we see photographers using images as a tool to change the culture and to enable better representation. It took a long time but it is finally happening.

How is fashion and beauty photography art?

This quote by Karl Lagerfeld sums it up, “Fashion photographers are the new painters”. Art is about interpreting reality. Similar to the Impressionist, Pointillist or Cubist movement in painting, fashion photography is about a surreal vision of reality magnified almost to an extreme. Fashion photography is still marginalized but it is changing. Proof is in the growing interest in fashion exhibitions in the past few years. Fashion photography was always meant to be published in a magazine therefore seen by the general public. My mission at The Selects Gallery is to make sure this work of art does not get lost and continues to be seen and available to a wider audience. I am convinced that we will be nostalgic for the incredible shoots that used to take place when magazines were at their peak with large budgets for stories shot by extravagant fashion editors in partnership with visionary photographers such as Polly Mellen, Richard Avedon and Carine Roitfeld. The gallery is a repository of fine art photography pulled from the archives of incredible fashion and lifestyle photographers from around the world.

What time period is your favorite for fashion and photography and why?

I don’t have a specific time period that is my favorite. I like the fact that by looking at photographs from certain time periods there is a certain parallel between the images and the society of the time. You get a sense of the cultural history too. For example, I watched the 2017 documentary “Agnelli” on HBO about Gianni Agnelli and his family, and it showed the “years of Lead” in Italy in the 1970s. It gave me a more profound understanding about the work of one of my photographers, Giovanni Gastel, and his work on memory and the protection of the arts. (Giovanni Gastel was an important and highly respected Italian photographer and was the nephew of the film director Luchino Visconti. Sadly, he passed away from Covid last spring. Marie recorded a long and in depth interview of the artist that might be his last one).

What has been your favorite photography exhibition?

An exhibition that I wish I could have seen in person was the 2018 exhibition “Icons of Style: A Century of Fashion Photography, 1911-2011” at The Getty Center in Los Angeles. To see photographs by Richard Avedon, Guy Bourdain, Peter Lindbergh, Helmut Newton, Irving Penn and many others hanging all together in one exhibition would have been a magical moment seeing this comprehensive exploration of fashion photography. Thankfully the accompanying book is still available on the Getty’s website.

Do you have a favorite museum or gallery in NYC?

I really love Fotografiska and their programming. It is neither a traditional museum nor a gallery as they don’t have permanent exhibitions or artworks for sale. It is a place to discover world-class photography along with outstanding programming. I especially enjoy the videos that they create about each artist as they go deep into the story of the artist and their work. I am also looking forward to their new space opening up in Miami in 2023 (they also have locations in Stockholm, Sweden and Estonia with spaces planned to open this year in Berlin and Shanghai).

Favorite books about fashion photography?

I have so many that it is hard to say just one or two. Because of this I started a “Book Club” on my Instagram account and once a week I highlight a new book that inspires me. In the past, I have included Passages by Irving Penn, The New Black Vanguard by Antwaun Sargent, Vogue: The Editor’s Eye by Condé Nast, Issues (A history of photography in fashion magazines) by Vince Aletti, Fashion Photography: The Story in 180 Pictures by Eugenie Shinkle and A World History of Photography by Naomi Rosenblum.
You can learn more about these books plus check out Marie’s latest recommendation each week in her “Book Club” Highlights on her Instagram account, @theselectsgallery.

Favorite website?

Every morning one of the first things that I do is look at The Eye of Photography (L’Oeil de la Photographie), which is a fantastic website for all things photography. It was created by Jean-Jacques Naudet who was the former editor-in-chief of French PHOTO magazine for 18 years. I stay up to date on the latest trends, auction results, breaking news, the latest books and exhibitions. I love to discover up and coming photographers and reading the in depth articles. It is the ultimate digital magazine for anyone who loves photography, both professionals and amateurs. They also have a daily newsletter and I highly recommend subscribing to it. A side note: I also contribute articles for this magazine including a recent series about the St Barths Photography Festival where I wrote daily dispatches about each exhibition opening.
Check their website here.

If you had an unlimited budget, what artist would you collect?

I would not collect one specific artist but would buy the work of contemporary artists. They have a fresh perspective and are always working though trends. I was lucky to work with KAWS early in his career and I still regret not purchasing any of his art back then. My husband and I bought a sculpture by Daniel Arsham (represented by the Perrotin Gallery). While Daniel was living in Florida in the 1990’s his house was destroyed by a hurricane and that inspired his series, “Relics of the Future”. He takes iconic objects from the 90’s such as the polaroid camera or a Porsche and destroys them and then creates white sculptures out of the remains of these cultural items. I find it very intriguing.

What is something people don’t know about you?

About 20 years ago, while I was living in Bogotá, Colombia, I wrote a guide to Bogotá that is still being published today by Grupo Semana. What is unique about this guide is that it is for locals, not tourists. I was lucky enough to meet the famous Colombian artist Pedro Ruiz and he introduced me to the creative world there. I was able to interview local celebrities to find out their favorite restaurants, florists, home décor shops etc. The result is an interesting mix of the fresh eye of a European expat mixed with the expert eye of the locals. I am very proud that it is still considered a vital sourcebook.

My go-to film recommendations.

A dear friend recently invited me to a special friends and family screening of the new Bruce Weber documentary, “The Treasure of his Youth: The Photographs of Paolo di Paolo”, and I was completely mesmerized by the film. The film is about the 96-year-old Italian photographer Paolo di Paolo and how his beautiful photos from the 1950s and 60s were a constant source of inspiration for Bruce Weber. I loved discovering this wonderful body of work and seeing a photographer being recognized internationally while he is still alive. I was also enchanted by the inclusion of clips from Italian cinema and the “joie de vivre” of the Italians and their zeal for life and it was especially poignant as it was filmed right before the pandemic. This exquisite film received a standing ovation at the Rome Film Festival last Fall. I had the added bonus of being able to speak with Bruce after the screening and found out that he is hoping that the film will be included in upcoming film festivals so that it can receive a theatrical release.

A recent book that you couldn’t put down?

Shuggie Bain! It is a deep and profound and sometimes funny story about addiction and trauma in Glasgow in the 1980s. I particularly loved the quality of the descriptions of textures and material that the author, Douglas Stuart, brought to the story. I was not surprised to discover that Stuart studied textiles at college and worked at Calvin Klein in NYC, Ralph Lauren, Gap and others.

A podcast that I am listening to…

It is a French one, “Demain n’attend pas”. It is an amazing podcast where they interview changemakers.

Do you have a favorite restaurant in NYC?

Sant Ambroeus, both in the city and in the Hamptons. I love the atmosphere and the food is always so good!

Last music you downloaded?

“The Look” by Metronomy. I love the retro feel and the high energy of the song will get me through the winter months.

Springtime in Paris or Autumn in NYC?

Ideally, I like both. For me, Spring in Paris is bursting with energy and Fall in New York feels like stolen moments of a never ending summer. I feel lucky that I can travel and experience both cities during my favorite times of year.

Discover more about Marie and the gallery at


Intro photo of Marie sitting in front of photo by Cleo Sullivan, Untitled, 2016, courtesy of The Selects Gallery