Ella Zubrowska was born and raised in Poland and is currently living between Cracow and Paris.
Designed in France, all of her pieces are handmade in her workshops in Cracow with precision and following ancient methods.
Inspired by antique and baroque arts, she grew up surrounded by precious objects: her father is an antique furniture restaurateur and her mother a costume designer. In her collections, Ella is twisting her classical aesthetics tastes by deconstructing the pieces. Her eponymous brand, created less than two years ago, is now photographed in prestigious publications. We met her to talk about her many and precise inspirations and references.
If you could describe your last collection in three words ?
It would be “baroque”, or “antique”. It’s a little bit “deconstructed”, and I would say “statement”.
What were your main inspirations behind this collection ?
Yes, every season, my inspirations come from Antique, Baroque, Classical, Empire style or Napoleonian art, because I was working a lot in art renovation since the age of 14, with sculptures and a lot with furniture as well, in my family’s workshop.
I was raised with this type of art, that was mostly from the 18th century, or the beginning of the 19th century. It revolved a lot around very detailed pieces, coming from workshops of Pierre-Philippe Thomire… who was one of the most famous bronze sculptors in the history of furniture and cabinet making. So, we were working with very rare and detailed pieces, that, at some point, led me to start making jewellery just for me.
But most of my inspiration, to answer the question, is 18th, 19th century classical Arts Décoratifs.
What is your favourite piece from the collection ?
I designed those big earrings, with a deconstructed “baroque angel”. I already used the shape of an angel before, but I never deconstructed it. I cut it in wax, and I reworked it. I really like to wear them, because you know, they’re big and move a lot. And there is something, in this deconstruction, that is a symbol of our time, where everyone is very uncertain. It’s the destruction of something…
What is your starting point when you begin to create a new collection ?
Because my family works in the art field, and my mother as a set designer for theatres and operas, I go to my family archives, and I spend a lot of time in my family’s workshop.
So the first pieces that I create, are very big statement pieces, with a lot of floral shapes, then I try to find a way to turn them into smaller ones. I take one big element, and then I see what I can do with it … Sometimes, I will divide it into so many small pieces that…
Would you like to extend your brand to other types of products like clothes, bags, or shoes ?
I made some belts this season. I actually designed them ten years ago, just for me, and someone said “you should add them to your collection”. I also always made dresses, but only evening wear, for weddings, for balls.
Which artists inspire you the most ?
For antique art, I would say Pierre-Philippe Thomire, that I already told you about. He is an extreme perfectionist. Taking into consideration the fact that he lived at the end of the 18th century, the beginning of 19th century, the details that he obtained then, are incredible.
I’m working with metal casting at the moment. It’s very complicated to get this sense of detail and this perfection in the making. You can see some of his pieces at the Louvre, or in Versailles. Otherwise, his work is displayed in private collections, because it is so rare and perfect.
For contemporary art, there was recently the FIAC in Paris. I really love the work of Tomás Saraceno around spiderwebs… I also noticed the work of Simon Fujiwara this year.
Which movies matches the most with your own aesthetic ?
Aesthetically All the movies by Peter Greenaway, especially The Pillow Book. "Io sono l'amore" by Luca Guadagnina, because I wanted to feel that love pictured in the movie, and it is just beautiful. Trainspotting and Twin Town because they are the most crazy. Oh and of course the hilarious The Discret Charm of Bourgeoisie.
Is there a specific place that really inspires you ?
Yes, Paris ! That’s why I live here now, because I did live in a few places around Europe, and in France since 2002, but not in Paris then. I always loved to come back here. It is such a unique place. It is really beautiful.
If you could live in another era, which one would you choose and why ?
Maybe Ancient Greece.. But I think there’s no better time to live in than this one, because we have access to all the past, and we can use it in a bad or good way. You have to pick one of the two for the future generations.
If you had to give a piece of advice for young designers or creators who would like to launch their own brand, what would it be ?
I think that you have to be patient and sometimes, you just have to take it slow. Don’t rush anywhere, because you really need to develop it. It has to grow.
If someone is just at the beginning, they have to take it step by step, but it has to be their priority, they have to really focus, to be sure of what they are doing, and have a good plan, to lead them to the point they are visualising.