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Fashion / Shopping

Dallas’ Invite Queen

Intelligent Beauty Runs a Private Printing Salon That Defies the Crass Digital Age

BY // 11.20.15
photography Rachael Wise

Heather Wiese-Alexander, creative director at stationer Bell’Invito and co-owner of design roost Nest (with her husband, Scott Alexander), is a rare double whammy. She has looks for days, and tons of smarts. Lucky for us, she puts all of this ebullience into saving us from epistolary barbarism.

Bell’Invito, which was established in 2004, is devoted to providing the world with supremely fine stationery (a proper analogy would be 1,000 thread-count sheets), where fine writing materials are valued and the art of elegant correspondence is alive and well. Alexander studied in Florence, and plenty of Continental sheen seems to have rubbed off. She studied graphic design at UNT, then migrated to the prestigious advertising firm The Richards Group in Dallas, then on to Neiman Marcus, where, she says, “I learned a lot.”

The “lot” must have included a crash course in business savvy. She sparks on multiple fronts with the speed of a Tesla Coil, and she can fiddle with a dusty old printing press abandoned in a shed in Arkansas until it starts humming like a champ.

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Recently, Alexander completed a new type of nest: a private salon designed within the Bell’Invito studio where clients browse a stunning array of samples — invitations, save-the-dates, stationery — in an equally tasteful setting. In addition to made-to-order writing sheets, note cards, announcements and invitations, there are social and digital bespoke collections, each of which allows clients to add their personal touch, to varying degrees.

“I wanted to do something that maintains a respect for the craft of printing,” says Alexander. “But I also didn’t want it to be elitist.” Bell’Invito uses presses that date from the late 1800s. “I wasn’t sure this would work, everything was going digital,” she says. “But I decided we would become ‘experts,’ and our work doubled.”

On the other end of the spectrum, she also has a lack of patience with sloppiness — and poor etiquette. Case in point: “When we print invitations, ‘Black tie optional’ isn’t something we allow. It’s either black tie or it’s not.” Alexander’s luminary clients are numerous, and while she refuses to name Dallas names, she will admit to having Katy Perry and Elton John as clients.

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Nestled in the Design District near the levee, the Bell’Invito studio is open to the public for pre-packaged invitations, note cards, monograms and stationery, but if you’re fascinated by the bespoke touch and yearn for top-tier, schedule an appointment to sit with the team in the chic new salon, where you can explore paper quality, typography, and embossing. And if you’re shopping near Knox-Henderson, pop in to her Nest, which also has a newly installed Bell’Invito salon. 

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