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My Favourite Things: Tyler Ellis

The American handbag designer, Tyler, daughter of Perry Ellis, shares her favourite pieces from her personal collection. 


Tyler Ellis, the daughter of the iconic fashion designer Perry Ellis and Hollywood TV writer and executive Barbara Gallagher, launched her eponymous luxury accessories brand in 2011. Her handbags are made by multi-generational artisans outside of Florence, Italy. Each bag is constructed by hand and can be made to order, now becoming a mainstay on Hollywood’s international red carpets, seen in the hands of A-Listers from Elisabeth Moss to Jennifer Lopez to Rita Ora. 

Also a collector of art and design, she shares her favourite personal signifiers from her home. 

Giant Helena with “Bruni”:

I was in Cabo and I got a text from my mom asking if I had designed a suitcase. I had not and was very confused…until she sent me a photo.  I produce all of my handbags in Italy, so sometimes things can get a little lost in translation….  I had ordered a proto-type of my new ‘Helena’ tote and somehow centimeters turned into inches.  My factory perfectly matched every detail and piece of custom hardware I asked for, in giant size! I kept the bag and now use it to house material samples. To this day people continue to compliment me on my giant mistake.

Custom Pinecone and Studio 65 ‘Boca Sofa’

I had my custom Pinecone fountain made for our garden as it represents the highest form of spiritual awakening, your third eye and dates all the way back to ancient Egypt where it topped Pharaohs’ staffs.  It has become the symbol of my eponymous accessories brand, where it acts as zipper pulls, feet and closures to my designs.  I love the powerful positivity the shape symbolizes, and it’s incredibly special to have the piece in our home. 

The Lip Sofa designed by Studio 65 adds a fun pop of color and pays tribute to Marilyn Monroe’s lips.  It’s a head-turner and not surprisingly, very comfy.

Keiichi Tanaami - “Dream and Unconscious”

My husband and I love Japan, especially Tokyo.  Pre-covid we would try to go at least 4 times a year to eat, shop and visit galleries.  A friend of ours recommended we stop by Nanzuka Underground – a boutique gallery in Shibuya.  We arrived, but they were closed as they were getting ready to launch a new exhibition by artist Keiichi Tanaami the next day.  They were a little hesitant but ended up letting us come in to take a sneak peek before it opened to the public.  We ended up developing a great relationship with the owner and fell in love with a painting, “Dream and Unconscious”.  After the opening night it was still available, so we bought it on the spot.  It is the first piece of art my husband and I purchased together so it will always hold a special place in our hearts. 

Mathieu Lehanneur – “Ocean Memoires” Circular Low Table

I’m a Scorpio and have always loved the water - it brings me a sense of calm.  I sat next to the incredibly talented interior designer Mathieu Lehanneur at a dinner at Carpenter’s Workshop Gallery in NYC.  We started talking about his work, and he mentioned his upcoming collection titled “Ocean Memories”, pieces based on the movement of water.  I was immediately intrigued and ended up pre-ordering the circular low table in white marble.  It sits in my office and its beautiful waves always remind me of the movement of the ocean.

Vintage Royal Crown Derby China

I remember visiting my grandmother’s house, where my father grew up, when I was little and looking at all the beautiful China she had collected over the years.  She had spectacular pieces dating back to George Washington’s era!  When she passed, she left me all the remarkable pieces I remember so clearly from my childhood.  The Royal Crown Derby pieces have become our house China – to me priceless family heirlooms with incredible history that will continue to pass down to future generations. 

Paola Pivi – “Sometimes I have to stand for my safety”

Bristol Bear, as we like to call her, is our most eccentric piece of art, and might also be our favourite.  She stands 8’5” and is made entirely of pink feathers, urethane foam and plastic – a life size replica of a mature polar bear.  She lives at the base of our staircase and has become the greeter of our home – pretty much everyone who comes in wants a selfie ;)

Raf Simons sketch of my custom Dior wedding dress

I was very fortunate to have Raf Simons design my wedding dress during his brief time as creative director at Dior.  The gown was handmade at Dior’s Paris atelier and took 450 hours to make, with another 500 hours for the embroidery done in Switzerland and Paris.  I chose two cocktail dresses from the Dior Haute Couture Spring ’14 collection and combined them to create my gown. Crystals were embroidered on circle cutouts stitched asymmetrically on the top layer, placed over the gown’s pale blue lining.  Raf’s sketch lives on the wall outside of my closet and takes me back to my special day every time I pass by it. 

Richard Avedon portrait of my father

I have always loved this photo of my father because it feels so real, like he’s here with me.  A great photographer friend of mine, Brian Bowen Smith was over and asked me about the “Avedon”, pointing to the portrait of my father.  I had no idea what he was talking about.  We pulled it off the wall, flipped it over and there it was, in huge cursive handwriting: “For Perry Ellis” Richard (1980).  I was blown away, but then I thought…who else would my father have chosen to take his portrait. 