During our recent trip to Ibiza, we found ourselves returning to La Galeria Elefante again and again. This treasure trove of clothing and homewares is the culmination of Victoria Durrer Gasse’s faraway travels and eye for handcrafted detail. Here, we chat to Victoria about growing up with Ibiza, inspirational women, and her favourite corners of the earth.
You first visited Ibiza as a teen in the seventies – what are your fondest memories of this time?
Discovering the island on my moped, driving up dusty tracks and getting lost amongst farmyards. Seeing the ladies in their traditional clothing and watching them whitewash their farmhouse walls and eat figs with their daughters. Our teenage picnic parties on the beach, my first kiss! And dancing in the –then much smaller– clubs at night. Boating in the day to small coves where there wasn´t anyone around, sleeping under the stars on the beach in Formentera, and generally acknowledging the wonder of the sea and the island´s magic, which is still unchanged.
It’s great to hear you say the island’s magic is still here – what else has remained the same after all these years?
This is still a beautiful island. Starry night skies, beautiful clear light in the day, the sea, the interesting, eclectic people, the nature, the stunning walks in the countryside and along the cliffs, and the dusty tracks to hidden places – there are still some!
We’re in love with your boutique, La Galeria Elefante. How do you begin to source the items for such an eclectic treasure trove?
Travelling to faraway places and discovering new crafts in countries like Madagascar, Nepal, India and the Congo. Luckily, my husband and I have always travelled a lot and, whilst he was working with WHO or UNICEF, I was able to meet local craftspeople and find beautiful and unusual things to bring back to sell. We regularly travel to hidden corners and later in the year will return to Madagascar, which is one of our favourite places.
You’re passionate about preserving traditional crafts and supporting the people and places where they originate. Is there a particular project you’re most proud of?
I love all the NGOs I work with and in particular WIF, Women’s Interlink Foundation, based in Calcutta, supporting under-privileged women, taking them out of difficult situations and helping them make a new life.
You’re also a designer of clothing and homewares. How do you find the two roles of collector and designer fuel each other?
Each role inspires the other – the textures and colours of both stimulate ideas for the other.
Who is the person you imagine wearing La Galeria Elefante creations?
Women of all ages who are free-spirited, spontaneous, sensitive, and open-minded.
How would you describe Ibizan style?
Feminine, bohemian, floaty, whimsical and carefree. Messy hair and sandy toes are perfectly okay!
Who are the women you’re inspired by?
Audrey Hepburn for her work with children, for her elegance, femininity, humility, discretion, and kindness. Jane Goodall for her work with primates and anthropology, and for continuing with her same spirit even now at 88, showing us age doesn´t matter. Maya Angelou for her writing and poetry on civil rights, writing so beautifully and inspiring women all over. And Reni Eddo-Lodge for her writing on feminism and exposing structural racism – for waking us up!
Love Victoria’s story? Discover our exclusive edit of clothing by La Galeria Elefante on Bazaar by Monsoon today.