Alisa Mandel was born in St. Petersburg, Russia. She is the daughter of the prominent film and stage production designer Semyon Mandel and actress/singer Marianna Safonova. She received her BA in fashion from St. Petersburg Academy of Technology and Design.
After working in the fashion industry for several years, Alisa moved into show business, designing costumes for Leningrad Music Hall, variety shows, ballet Arabesk, legendary rock-group Zemlyane, among others. Alisa later went on to receive her MFA from St. Petersburg State Theatre Arts Academy, and thereafter interned at the Kirov Opera and Ballet Theatre.
When she moved to the U.S. in 1991, Alisa worked for the Metropolitan Opera in NYC, then in Washington, D.C. as the chief costume designer for Costumes Creative.
In 1995, Alisa began her own business, designing competition ballroom dancewear. She also worked as a freelance theatre designer.
Among her clients are three-time World Exhibition Dance champions Sharon and David Savoy, dancing-on-ice U.S. Olympic team champions Melissa Gregory and Denis Petukhov, and the 2010 World Rhythmic Gymnastic champion Julie Zetlin.