Fashion Designer Turned Ceramicist Léa Zana On Style & Inspiration
Fashion Designer Turned Ceramicist Léa Zana On Style & Inspiration

Fashion Designer Turned Ceramicist Léa Zana On Style & Inspiration

Ceramicist Léa Zana founded her homeware brand Vaisselle in lockdown and now, it’s stocked in department stores around the world. Her distinctive approach to design continues to inform the ever-expanding range – and here, she tells us more about her style and where she finds inspiration..
By Georgina Blaskey

All products on this page have been selected by our editorial team, however we may make commission on some products.

My style is best described as eclectic and authentic. I love mixing the unexpected. I was about 11 when I first noticed a difference between me and the other pupils at school, especially during art classes. One of the first assignments of the year was to create a graphic symmetrical painting using only two colours. Everyone in the class went for the primary colours – red, yellow and blue – but I chose coral and dark purple.

I’ve always been obsessed with colour. The conversation I had with my art teacher to explain my choice in that assignment made me realise that my vision of colours was different. I’m very picky and able to see hundreds of different nuances. It’s something that’s really shaped my taste as I’ve moved into adulthood.

Design was interesting to me even when I was nine years old. I remember flipping through the pages of the La Redoute catalogue and looking at all the fashion. I was so excited. That same day I took my pencils and started to design a clothing collection for my Barbie dolls. Today, I still carefully draw the all the designs for every piece of Vaisselle tableware.

I studied FINE ART before transitioning into FASHION DESIGN. Then, I started my career as a STUDIO ASSISTANT working for LUXURY BRANDS IN PARIS. From there, I moved into FOOTWEAR

The first designer who left a real impression on me was Tom Ford when he was at Gucci – specifically his AW99 collection. The jewel-tone colour palette and use of velvet was just fascinating to me. All the colours perfectly complemented each other. That’s when I understood the impact of a coherent colour palette. Ever since I saw that collection, I’ve tried to ensure my own work has this sense of coherence. 

In terms of inspiration, it’s more about ‘what’ rather than ‘who’. Nature, flowers and Roman architecture are some of my main influences. All the Vaisselle collections are based on a floral element, too, whether that’s goldilocks climbing on a lime-washed wall or the daisies from my late grandmother’s garden. I was born in a French town surrounded by Roman ruins, and this has had a huge impact on my creativity. 

I studied fine art before transitioning into fashion design. Then, I started my career as a studio assistant working for luxury brands in Paris. From there, I moved into footwear – which was simply a result of being in the right place at the right time. After that, I designed shoes for Mellow Yellow and Zara before moving to London to do the same for Topshop and ASOS.

My move out of fashion was sparked by pre-Covid redundancy. I thought to myself, now is the time to do something for me. Tableware and ceramics have been a passion of mine ever since I can remember, and I knew it was a route I wanted to explore.

Sustainability and fair trade are the cornerstones of Vaisselle. It was this ethos that led me to develop my first collection of kitchen essentials – all handmade in Spain. I was delighted with the final finish and to this day all the Vaisselle products are hand painted in Spain by two local artisans.

My summer is typically spent in Mallorca – it’s one of my favourite places. I am obsessed with antique cement tiles and so many of the houses there are decorated with them. It’s a feast for the eyes and so inspiring. I really admire their rawness and matte finish, which contrast with the floral and swirly designs of their decorations. It’s perfection.

I’m definitely a collector. I collect everything from elephant figurines (I lived in Sri Lanka when I was a child) to glassware and tableware. I can’t get enough of demijohn glass bottles and antique French crockery is my weakness. Antique French linens also take me back to my childhood in France with my grandmother.

The book that had the biggest impact on me is Françoise Sagan’s Bonjour Tristesse – it’s my bedside-table book. Sagan is my favourite author; all her heroines are so unique and this desire for freedom is their common trait. I’m really looking forward to Leïla Slimani’s next book, too.

I’m definitely a movie fan. Sofia Coppola and Pedro Almodóvar are two of the biggest influences on me. Lost In Translation and Marie-Antoinette are incredible – the colour palettes, the artistic direction, the cultural and fashion references, and the attention to the smallest detail will always be with me. All About My Mother is my all-time favourite film – it made me want to include the Iberian culture in my life and art. It’s one of the main reasons why I moved to Spain before coming to London. And then there are the interiors – all the flats are set in old Barcelona buildings.

I always play music – and not just when I work. The first thing I do every morning after feeding my cat is turn on Spotify. I tend to play some Ethiopian jazz before moving on to Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan and Serge Gainsbourg. I love the poets.

I’m definitely a COLLECTOR. I collect everything from elephant figurines (I lived in Sri Lanka when I was a child) to GLASSWARE AND TABLEWARE. Antique French linens also take me back to my CHILDHOOD IN FRANCE with my grandmother.

Hosting is one of my favourite things to do. Sparkling cocktails are my favourite, and I always go for a classic Hugo spritz. Right now I love to elevate my table with a few pieces from my new St-Germain x Vaisselle Apéritif Edit and some fresh flowers – sweet peas are in season at the moment.

French food is my favourite. Louie is one of my favourite places in London whenever I’m craving French fries and red wine! It has a truly elegant classic French brasserie feel.

I really admire the glass artist Helle Mardahl. She is a genius.

If I could have one brand that was my own, it would be Chanel – just so I could wear the clothes all day, every day. One can dream…


Starting from £95, the St-Germain x Vaisselle limited-edition Apéritif Edit is available to purchase exclusively in the UK now.

DISCLAIMER: We endeavour to always credit the correct original source of every image we use. If you think a credit may be incorrect, please contact us at

Fashion. Beauty. Culture. Life. Home
Delivered to your inbox, daily