The Aesthete: Elza Wandler’s black book of style

The founder of cult leather-goods label Wandler finds her calm by painting, buying vases and via her meditation app. By Rosanna Dodds

Elza Wandler at home in Amsterdam
Elza Wandler at home in Amsterdam | Image: Chris Brooks

My personal style signifiers are my accessories, which always inform the rest of my outfit. I start with shoes and go from there. Recently I’ve been wearing my Lina boots paired with a Georgia bag in an effort to dress up after spending the early part of lockdown in a tracksuit. Jewellery is also a big part of my routine; I’m never without my Lizzie Mandler necklaces and Spinelli Kilcollin ring. Lizzie Mandler chain, similar from $520. Spinelli Kilcollin Luna ring, about £7,000. Wandler Lina Slouch boots, €635, and Georgia bag, €725

The last thing I bought and loved was a leather Prada coat. I told myself that I would send it back, but we all know that never happens. £4,360

Her interlocking Spinelli Kilcollin Luna ring
Her interlocking Spinelli Kilcollin Luna ring | Image: Chris Brooks

And on my wishlist is a house. I’ve been desperately searching for the past year, but it’s very hard to buy in Amsterdam. Everybody wants to live here and they rarely build new houses. I’ll have to settle for a pair of Linda Tol sunglasses for now. @toleyewear

My favourite room in my house is my sitting room. Well, it used to be. No room is your favourite when you’re trying to move house.

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I have a collection of vases. Right now there are about 15 in the living room alone, plus a collection of ceramic animals, including a dog, a panther and a tiger that’s over a metre tall. My current favourite is an orange Anissa Kermiche Love Handles vase. £340; matchesfashion.com

The best book I’ve read recently is A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle, who is a spiritual teacher. It’s important for me to practise mindfulness, as my work is so hectic. Eckhart’s route to finding happiness is fascinating.

Her Georgia bag
Her Georgia bag | Image: Chris Brooks

With time on my hands, I’ve picked up painting. It’s nice to be able to do something that isn’t connected with work. There’s no pressure; I don’t want to be an artist, I just want to relax. 

The gadget I couldn’t do without is a watch, but that’s probably more for aesthetic reasons. At the moment I’m wearing one from Cartier. Tank, £4,650

Her Venini vase
Her Venini vase | Image: Chris Brooks

The best gift I’ve given recently is a blue-and-white striped bathing suit to Anne, my best friend. It looks beautiful against her bright-red hair.

And the best gift I’ve received recently is a Venini vase that was given to me by my factory in Italy, where they know about my vase obsession. I first saw it in a shop window while I was walking around Venice, but decided that it was too expensive. They sent it to my studio a few months later as a surprise.

Wandler at her studio in Amsterdam
Wandler at her studio in Amsterdam | Image: Chris Brooks

The last music I downloaded was by Joep Beving, a modern classical pianist and composer. Normally the girls would go crazy if I put on something like that in the office, but now I have more time to myself at home, I’ve really been enjoying his music.

My beauty guru is my facialist, Jolien Schepers, who runs a salon in central Amsterdam. I also like to treat myself to regular massages at Akasha. It’s based in the Conservatorium Hotel, but you don’t have to be a guest to book.

Her dog, Billy, with some ceramic companions
Her dog, Billy, with some ceramic companions | Image: Chris Brooks

The one artist whose work I would collect if I could is Julio Rondo. He’s famous for his streaks of brightly coloured paint behind sheets of glass. I like art that’s about colour because that’s also the focus of my own work.

A recent “find” was Little Ways, a ’70s-themed restaurant in New York that’s run by the people who own The Flower Shop. We threw a Wandler celebration there earlier this year that was a lot of fun. The food is also excellent, particularly the fish dishes.

Cartier Tank
Cartier Tank

The last meal that truly impressed me was at Lucien, another good spot in New York. Generally speaking, I would say I’m a flexitarian; I allow myself to eat meat every couple of months or so. Lucien, a French-style bistro, is perfect for these occasions. Its steak au poivre is the best.

My style icons are the designer Lian Rokman for her jewellery and Elizabeth von der Goltz, global buying director at Net-a-Porter, for the way she mixes different materials.

Her Jacquemus blazer
Her Jacquemus blazer | Image: Chris Brooks

In my fridge you’ll always find spinach, eggs, coconut rice milk for my morning oats, and a stash of fresh ginger juice, which I press myself.

An indulgence I would never forgo is anything that’s gold. I’m obsessed with it. Some people feel naked without make-up, but I feel naked without my jewellery.

One of her recent paintings
One of her recent paintings | Image: Chris Brooks

The last items of clothing I added to my wardrobe were both from Jacquemus’ latest collection: a pink top and a checked blazer. $324 and $840

In isolation I’ve been dreaming about going back to Lefay Dolomiti, a mountain resort in the Dolomites. We spent four days there last winter, shortly after it opened. People go there to ski, of course, but everything about it is amazing: the food, the atmosphere, the people… It’s like living in a very large wooden cabin, except that you have all the luxuries you could possibly want. From €290

Her Anissa Kermiche Love Handles vase
Her Anissa Kermiche Love Handles vase | Image: Chris Brooks

An object I would never part with is my chocolate-brown 1960s Mario Bellini sofa. I’m quite happy buying and reselling my furniture as the mood takes me. That’s the joy of it. If you know a little bit about what you’re selling, you can usually get a good price for it. My sofa, however, is something that I’ll never sell.

My favourite apps are Insight Timer and Headspace for meditation, which I do a lot. I also practise Wim Hof’s breathing exercises, a method that’s believed to boost your immune system.

One of her ceramic animals
One of her ceramic animals | Image: Chris Brooks

The beauty staples I’m never without are my Mason Pearson hairbrush and my perfume, Atlas Fever by Ex Nihilo. My facialist has also just recommended an Australian brand called Synergie Skin. Its Ultimate A, Vitamin B and SupremaC+ serums have transformed my skin. Atlas Fever, €350 for 100ml EDP. Ultimate A, €89.95, Vitamin B, €79.90, and SupremaC+, €79.90

If I weren’t doing what I do, I would be a wedding planner. I’m a fan of coming up with concepts and building them from beginning to end. It would be fabulous.

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