Interview: Zoé Cotlenko – Part 2


This article is in English. Click here to read it in French.

Read Episode 1 of our interview with Zoé Cotlenko here.

Where do you get your inspiration from to design jewels?

I focus a lot on material. First of all, I look for a material that can be shaped many different ways on the one hand, and on which I can work in the long run on the second hand. Unlike many other designers, I would rather design a collection that will last several seasons or one, two or three years.

I always like to model the material in a new way and design accessories out of it little by little. This is what I first did with mother-of-pearl buttons for five years, which is the collection that made me famous twelve years ago. After that, I worked on zippers inspired by things like threads, chain mail and embroidery.

The latest creation of the fair is a work piece made of wires and leather together. I chose a noble material and a common one that allow me to create my own beads. I can indefinitely invent new shapes, like balls, spirals, drops or something like trimmings. This all will constitute the latest collection.

Where can one find your jewellery, Zoe?

It is available internationally, in the United States, in New York’s MOMA especially, as well as in Chicago’s MOMA, and in other countries like Lebanon, Turkey, Greece and at the Conrad shop in Japan. This year few Japanese companies participated in the fairs – you can tell they still haven’t fully recovered from what they went through.

You can also find it in Paris at the l’Appartement shop near the Carrousel du Louvre and next to the Quai d’Orsay museum in rue Bellechasse. In the provinces, you can basically find it everywhere.

What do you carry in your handbag?

Right now in my handbag, there is a reel of wire, a case full of various tongs (my pocket workshop), tickets to the fair, a photo camera, children’s games, keys, bank cards, papers, cough medicine and a book.

What is your favorite neighbourhood in Paris?

I love the 2ème arrondissement. I lived next door to fabric suppliers in an apartment in rue Reaumur near the Sentier for ten years. There is quite a particular effervescence in this Parisian neighbourhood. I love it. The population is very mixed-raced. You can hear every language when you just stroll around, and you can find very good food. The streets are made of cobblestone and there is little car traffic. It is very pleasant to have a walk there.

Your favourite fashion designer: Margiela

Your favourite dish: Poutargue

Your favourite city: Paris

Thank you Zoé for taking the time to speak to us at My French Life™. We’ve enjoyed getting to know more about you and your work as jewellery designer. To find out more about Zoé and her jewellery collection, you can see her Facebook page Zoe Cotlenko Paris and contact her to

About the Contributor

Emmanuelle Tremolet

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