Elise Brasca

by Tamu McPherson



Hey there Pretty Birds,

Meet this week’s Pretty Bird Elise. I met her through a mutual friend and fell immediately in love with her bright, easy going personality and over-all positive energy. She’s always smiling or on the verge of breaking into one, which makes spending time with her an absolute treat. And in addition to her great charm, I  was also persuaded by the fact that like me, she’s a JD/MBA whose heart ultimately lead her to a career in fashion. Having cut her teeth some of the best fashion houses in Europe, she’s now designing Gianlisa, a line of handbags and accessories that carry the Made in Italy label. From gorgeous minimal silhouettes to full-on rock inspired minaudières, they are a mix of French cool meets Italian sophistication. The ultimate mix of styles, no? And this mix of cultures is evident in everything about Elise, you can tell that she’s travelled the world and has soaked up so much of what she’s seen and experienced. Getting really curious about where she’s been aren’t you? Well I’ll just let you get on with getting to know her. Enjoy! xoxo

ATPB: You have a extensive design background, having spent time at the best fashion houses in the business? Can you mention a few of the houses that you have worked for and which one was your favorite. Can you please say why?
EB: I’ve been working for several years in Paris, for some of the most important Maisons such as Chanel, Lancel, Christian Dior and Pierre Hardy. My first experience at Maison Pierre Hardy, which was a quite small brand at that time, was very educative because I had the chance to get into everything (sales, design, press or Marketing). It was there that I realized that when you create a brand you have to master multitasking. Moreover, I had the chance to work with directly Pierre, who is a great person and artist, and who has a wonderful graphic taste, that is still inspiring me today.

The experience at Maison Dior, which is instead a huge Brand was also very important for me. In fact, I had the chance to work for many different departments including Beachwear, Lingerie, Baby Dior and of course Accessories. I learned many different skills, and of course, I had the chance to work with two great designers such John Galliano and Hedi Slimane, two very different but creative points of view of the same Brand.

ATPB: What inspired you to pursue a career in design in the first place?
EB: I guess it’s in my DNA. My Grandfather was a sculpture in Geneva, and I rememberplaying with the instruments in his atelier when I was a little girl. The smell of the wood, the mood boards and the first shapes of the sculptures are still impressed in my mind today. Then my mom used to have a shop in Milano on Corso Venezia in the 80s. She used to make handmade luxury pullovers in great cashmere or silk and angora, made to order by special costumers or for brands such Enrico Coveri or Ferré. After kindergarten, I use to go there and play with all her color cards in the back of the shop. Later on, after law school and an MBA, I couldn’t go through with working as a lawyer or in finance, and instead pursued my secret dream by working in the best fashion and accessories houses in the business, before launching my own Brand.

ATPB: When did you know that it was time to start your own collection?
EB: At 30, I felt that it was time to start my Line.

ATPB: What lessons have you learned since you stepped out on your own?
EB: Never give up, even if its sometimes hard to make decisions that can change your life. You have to keep in mind your target. Also, never be happy with very little and always move forward.

ATPB: What has been the most exciting aspect of this journey?
EB: To create. Every time that an idea becomes reality, I think is the most exciting part of my job, and to be helped by all the people I love. I’m very grateful to them for supporting me and my dream everyday.

ATPB: Is there a style that you haven’t designed yet that you look forward to creating in the future?
EB: Actually, I’m deeply in love with accessories, so I started with bags. Now we are doing a small capsule of jewelry, and in the future I’d love to create a small collection of shoes.

ATPB: Do you have a design muse?
EB: Jane Birkin and Monica Vitti for their timeless style. I’m also very fascinated by heroines in the history, from Antigone to Amelia Earhart. I like their mix of fragility and strength.

ATPB: Is there anyone living or dead that you would love to see carrying one of your handbags? How do you think that this person would interpret it?
EB: Sophia Coppola, she’s so modern chic and of course…Audrey Hepburn, I’d love to imagine our Ella bag as her companion on her Roman Holidays 🙂

ATPB: Tell us about the images that you chose for your mood board?
EB: In general, I love Colors and the contrast created by the shadows under a Zenithal sun. I’m in love with the works of Sonia and Robert Delaunay. The way Sonia treated colors and shapes (she really revolutionized fashion in the ’20s) is simply great. And Orphism, the painting movement they  founded, is very inspiring to me. I additionally love Jean Cocteau’s pure lines and mix of poetry and painting. When it comes to design, I like the clean shapes, colors and materials used in the Bauhaus movement. I prefer fashion from the ’50s and the’70s. Icons like Francoise Hardy, Serge Gaisbourg and Jane Birkin or Bianca Jagger are my idea of stylish. I like metallics like gold or silver color, but only in clean lines. For SS14, I was very inspired by the glamorous destinations of the ’50s and the’70s, like Capri, Acapulco or Java. I used red and blue stripes, inspired by 50s Capri style and Mexican prints inspired by the way glamorous women dressed in Acapulco during the’70s.


Name: Elise Brasca
Occupation: Designer and Owner of Gianlisa, a Made in Italy handbag and accessories brand.
Passion: History, travelling and of course my work!
Hometown: Paris
Current Town: Milano

Favorite City: I’m in love with cities, I am always fascinated by the mix between old and new and between differents cultures. My first favourite city, is of course Paris because it’s half my hometown. Then Tokyo because it’s a crazy huge town and being there makes me feel very creative. And my latest crush is Cape Town, where I discovered the most beautiful light I’ve ever seen. I love all the colors there!!

Favorite place to shop in those cities:
– Paris, the Marais where I still have a flat.
– Shibuya in Tokyo for crazy little gadgets.
– Cape Town, anywhere in Woodstock.

Favorite place to dine in those cities:
– Paris, Le Royal Turenne, a real French Brasserie just below my flat. The food is traditional french and Francoise, the owner is really friendly.
– Tokyo, definitely, any of the small Sushi bars at The Fish Market.
– Cape Town, The Round House for a chic Picnic with a stunning view!

What do you do to get your day started? Drinking Green Tea, while looking at my emails.

What’s your beauty routine? Hot water and fresh lemon juice, Creme de la Mer and of course..Love.

Where do you cut your hair? 6Inches, on Via Madonnina, with Maria.

Other personal grooming: When I go back to Paris, I go for a sauna and hamam, and a massage at Les Bains du Marais.

Where do you shop in Milan? At Cavalli e Nastri, I love their selection. I also really love 10 Corso Como’s bookstore, and Suite 123 on Corso di Porta Romana, very nice shop with a great selection.

Describe your style:
I’m half Parisian and half Milanese, and I think you can sense it from my style. My Milanese side, is sometimes Romantic and Bon Ton, but my Parisian style is defenetely more Rock. I love to mix fifties dresses with an old moto jacked and Isabel Marant boots, or a classic loafer with a man’s shirt and black leather leggings. For me the perfect style would be a mix between Monica Vitti and Charlotte Gainsbourg.

What are your favorite brands? Celine and Pierre Hardy for shoes, Miu Miu and Valentino for their lovely dresses, Prada for anytime, Maison Kitsune and Isabel Marant for my Parisian touch.

Any style rules (for instance you only wear black shoes)? Even if I love heels, I prefer to wear flat shoes. I think they are very chic.

What do you do before you go to bed? I’m kind of workaholic…So I read through my emails:)

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