ILONA TAMBOR WORLD
Welcome to the Ilona Tambor World – Explore the inspiration behind each design, hand-drawn illustrations, and shop your favourites from our designs and patterns.
Discover Ilona’s Designs and Illustrations
The Fairytale Forest
Step into a world where the opulent tapestries of Polish King Sigismund Augustus reign supreme. My A/W 2023 collection draws inspiration from these historic treasures, once housed in the venerable Wawel Castle of Cracow. They are a testament to centuries of elegance and creativity, now preserved within the walls of a national museum.
The royal tapestries, originally created in the years 1550-1560 in the renowned Brussels tapestry workshops, were a monumental commission for a single patron. Polish King Sigismund Augustus ordered this collection, consisting of 136 tapestries, in celebration of his wedding to Catherine of Habsburg on July 30, 1553.
These tapestries are renowned for their rich depictions, and some elements are attributed to Michiel Coxie, often called “Rafael of Flanders.”
Among the tapestries, the ‘verdures’ have captured my fascination. These tapestries portray the wonders of nature, from flora to fauna and breathtaking landscapes. Roughly, 44 out of 50 of these remarkable tapestries remain, serving as a compendium of Renaissance natural knowledge, influenced by exotic travel accounts and intertwined with symbolic representations of good versus evil.
My A/W 2023 collection transports you to the heart of these enchanting fairytale forests. The colour palette mirrors the rich hues of autumn and winter, with a captivating touch of raspberry red to infuse vibrancy into the season.
At the heart of my collection is “The Fairytale Forest” scarf. Legend has it that the first glimpse of an iris kindles a love that blooms in return. The narrative unfolds with our protagonists: the fairytale “girafficorn” and a heron wrestling with a coiled serpent around the bird’s beak. The “girafficorn” symbolises the extraordinary and the imaginative, while the heron, a symbol of peace and harmony, grapples with the serpent, subtly representing the eternal struggle between good and evil.
My collection is a testament to meticulous craftsmanship, where every detail tells a story. A beautiful motif intertwines with foliage and birds, creating a breathtaking fairytale forest at its base.
Each design begins as a hand-drawn sketch, embodying the dedication and craftsmanship behind every piece. With three distinct colour options, my A/W 2023 collection invites you to envelop yourself in a world of artistry, imagination, and timeless elegance.
Discover the “Fairytale Forest” and allow it to transport you to a realm where nature and symbolism intertwine, where the ordinary transforms into the extraordinary. Embrace the essence of King Sigismund Augustus tapestries and experience the magic of my A/W 2023 collection.
The Sea Life
Once upon a time, in a world beneath the waves, a magical kingdom was bustling with marine life. The Jellyfish, with their billowing tentacles and luminous glow, were the silent stars of the ocean. They floated through the water, graceful as dancers, enchanting all who gazed upon them.
As the Jellyfish danced and twirled, they were joined by their playful friends, the pufferfish. These cheeky creatures added a whimsical edge to the scene, inflating and deflating in rhythm with the waves.
Not to be outdone, the lionfish strutted their stuff, showing off their vibrant colours and even revealing their intricate skeletal structure. They were like royalty in this marine kingdom, demanding attention and admiration from all around.
But they were not the only inhabitants of this enchanting world. Seahorses, with their delicate curves, swayed gently in the currents, while the kelp and coral created a kaleidoscope of hues and textures, adding depth and complexity to the scene.
As the currents ebbed and flowed, this magical underwater world continued to unfold, revealing new wonders and delights with each passing moment. The Jellyfish remained the centre of attention, captivating all with their beauty and grace. And the other creatures of the sea continued to dance and play, adding their own unique charm to this incredible tableau.
And so it went on, day after day, as the underwater world continued to evolve and enchant, with the Jellyfish reigning supreme, and the other marine life playing their part in this timeless fairy tale of life under the sea.
Available in three, ethereal colour options, this showcase of marine wonder offers a sartorial sense of calm and wonder like nothing else.
Swans have long been a symbol of love and fidelity. In many cultures, they represent the union of couples for life, their graceful necks entwined in a never-ending embrace. This pattern captures the essence of that symbolism, with swans depicted in varying poses that embody the joy of togetherness.
The Swans pattern is a celebration of love in all its forms, reminding us of the importance of cherishing our relationships. The intricate design features two swans swimming towards each other, surrounded by delicate flowers and foliage. Their necks gracefully intertwine, forming a heart that represents the unbreakable bond between two souls.
But the story of the Swans pattern is not without a touch of melancholy. Swans are also known for their loyalty and devotion. When misfortune strikes one of the pair, the other remains by their side, offering comfort and support. This is a testament to the strength of true love, and the power of companionship in times of hardship.
Filling the design, adding a bed of grace for these Swans, is the King of the Flowers – the peony. Traditionally given on special occasions as a symbol of goodwill, best wishes, and joy, they complement the pattern as it embodies the sentiment of love and celebration.
The peony’s association with royalty can be traced back to ancient China, where it was considered a noble flower and symbolised wealth and prosperity. In Greece, the flower has its own mythological story as a beautiful nymph named Paeonia who was turned into a peony by the goddess of love and beauty, Aphrodite, out of jealousy. However, another legend has it that Zeus saved a wounded warrior by transforming him into a peony, which led to the flower’s association with healing and good fortune.
Every detail of the Swans pattern is carefully considered to capture the grace and elegance of these beautiful creatures. The feathers on the swans are meticulously rendered, with subtle shades of grey and white that give them a lifelike quality. The flowers and foliage that surround them are delicate and intricate, with each petal and leaf carefully placed to create a harmonious whole.
Incorporate the Swans pattern into your life and surround yourself with a symbol of love and devotion. Whether it’s a silk scarf, pareo, or enchanting dress, this pattern is sure to bring a touch of romance and whimsy to any setting.
Available in three colour options, the inception of each Swans design for Ilona Tambor’s collection begins with an idea that takes shape as a hand-drawn sketch, which is then perfected and transformed into digital form before being immortalised on luxurious, sustainable silk fabrics.
The Beauty of Diversity
In many ways, this pattern represents each and every one of us. On the other hand, you may not find a representation of yourself among the plethora of hybrid creatures frolicking among the foliage of this print. And that, dear viewer, may precisely be why these animals are inspiring for you, whether you see versions of yourself here or not.
It’s about the possibility. These hybrids may not exist in your world, but they exist in some world, at some time. They inspire thinking beyond borders – conscious and subconscious ones. And by moving past them, we find a universe of beauty where giraffes fly and warthogs squawk eerily as only hornbills can.
Beauty is in these imperfections, these hybrids, and these possibilities. To make that point, the Winged Zebra takes center stage – rearing on its hind legs in all its splendour, its aesthetic invoking fascination from just a glance. It embodies the spirit of the piece with wings spread and almost regal antlers, infusing it with a transcendental quality. This unconventional beauty is also found in the mystical awe one when one witnesses a horned impala wraps its serpentine body around a tree. It can be found after the initial terror of crossing a hyena-meerkat hybrid cackling at its own tail feathers at dusk.
It’s in this very hybrid universe where you find your inherent personality – whether it’s a patchwork of experiences that have come to define you or a carefully curated set of traits which you enhance to project onto the world. You’ve chosen from the array of differences, creating a quilt of beauty from that which you were born with and that which you have acquired.
Accepting that beauty depends on difference allows you to see beyond the foliage, where you’ll find seemingly impossible beings who showcase everything that makes them unique.
Like every Ilona Tambor design, these hybrid animals began as an idea. The idea came to life as a hand-drawn sketch, refined and digitised before being printed on luxurious silk fabrics.
Griffin and Basilisk
Stumbling upon the scene, it appears to be a stage of polar opposites. But all things are in balance – as they should be.
It’s no easy feat, for far up in the Ripe Mountains, it’s said that the griffin’s cries can sometimes be heard. This is a shriek that none wishes to hear, for it drains the life of anything in its wake. Still, those pure-hearted ones who intend no harm to the griffin’s precious offspring will not be harmed by the winged creature. It may be only those of noble intention that the enchanting tree, which the griffin guards, will reveal itself. Some say both the griffin and tree can both be found high up in these mountains, in Ira’s garden atop Mount Alatyr. Those who make it and taste the golden fruits of this tree shall receive eternal youth, as well as power over the entire universe.
It’s a universe of balance. Deep down, in the darkest of cellars and underground dungeons, amidst the musty, damp air, lies the antithesis of the griffin. With the body of a rooster and serpent’s tail, the Warsaw basilisk prowls. Hatched from a rooster’s egg which was incubated by a warty toad, this denizen of the dark reigns supreme, as its crown-shaped crest implies. Its eyes carry potent power – if any living creature is unfortunate enough to get close, a single glance means instant death.
This pattern design has been hand-illustrated, then digitized before being printed onto the finest silk accessories, making for a truly unique aesthetic steeped in Slavic mythology.
Hovering above a curious tree – which we’re sure caught your attention – is a fierce symbol of pride. It may be fact shrouded in time, or perhaps a mere myth, but the griffin is ever-vigilant, watching over its glimmering treasures with a watchful eye. Slavic mythology whispers proud tales of this half-eagle, half-lion that embodies the prized qualities of both the familiar creatures from which it’s derived. Catching a glimpse of this fabled creature happens but once in an era, but how does one know where to look?
Many an adventurer have lost their way. When a stroll takes one wrong turn too many and the lush leaves in the forest begin to feel suffocating, despair begins to set in. The whispers of the woods become increasingly louder, until the adventurer feels a sense of loss both physically and emotionally. Those wanderers with a deep sense of respect for the environment in which they find themselves may just experience hope of a transient nature.
From deep within the forest’s soul, its guardian may appear to lead the wanderer out, saving them from the demons of darkness and those within.
Those who have encountered this being speak of what they saw differently, but one thing remains constant – they call it the Leshy. This primeval forest spirit can take one of two forms. Possibly mirroring your intentions and its duty, Leshy may reveal itself as a bear or, perhaps more terrifyingly to some, an old grandfather figure with the palest of skin. He walks among the trees, as his primary duty is to care after the habitat of those who call the forest their home. The taller the trees he surrounds himself with, the taller and more imposing a figure he is.
Even so, children lost in the forest will find themselves guided back towards their settlement. For these little ones, Leshy sets them back home with a few treats of nature, like berries or mushrooms. For those with malicious intent towards the creatures of the forest, Leshy is likely to confront them with a deadly fate.
A guardian of the forest and all its inhabitants, the Leshy takes its place in Slavic mythology as a being with benevolent intention. Leshy’s benevolence towards nature draws two angels to the being, offering their protection and grace to this servant of the trees. Taking the form of larks, they flutter around Leshy, offering companionship through its duties.
A symbolic pattern, this design is hand-illustrated before experiencing a digital transformation. Get this element of fascinating Slavic folklore printed on luxurious silk scarves and accessories.
The Moroccan Days
Known for its cultural splendour, ambience, and ancient wonders, the lands of Morocco hold many wonders and magical secrets. The silhouettes and imagery of this place captivate and enchants us, and for good reason. And yet, there’s something else beyond the souks and cafes, the mosques and the rooftops – something else with a legacy that goes back even further than Morocco’s alluring civilisation of music, mosaics, and warmth.
Beyond the bustling city streets and trinkets that enchant the curious passer-by, there’s a world beyond the exterior of this land that holds spellbinding significance. The wildlife, and with it the flora, of this land, have inspired the inhabitants of this land for centuries. They are the soul from which Morocco’s blossoming civilisation drew its artistry, perseverance, and spirit.
The proud camel, an icon of endurance, is and was a driving force of prosperity and connection between lands, peoples, and cultural exchange in the region. Its instantly recognizable silhouette a symbol of lasting tenacity and survival – hope that brings a smile to the weary traveller.
With its cunning and unorthodox beauty, the spotted hyena emanates the edge to the region. At one with the environment around it, the hyena adapts, perseveres, and remains empowered. Its spotted coat and uncanny laugh may be haunting, but it has its place. The hyena reminds the viewer of balance in all things.
Small but underestimated, the African crested porcupine is a stark reminder that even smaller beasts can threaten dominant powers. This unmistakeable little powerhouse goes about its business in the dark of night but will not hesitate to strike when disrespected. Its thorny quills inject a striking contrast into this pattern.
And the fennec fox, cautious and sensible, is a distinct feature of the deserts – if you can spot it. Almost a creature of legend, its large ears and bushy tail would not be out of place in a fairy tale. A springy character, this golden-tan character is a reflection of the otherworldly charm of the region.
Available in three colour variants, this pattern features the region’s creatures bordered by aesthetics of the Mediterranean – mosaic elements that represent the cultural richness of Morocco that harmonise with the aesthetic of its wildlife. Tassels and lamps of different kinds emanate sought-after elegance and refinement. Printed on silk scarves, this design began as a hand-illustrated piece which was then digitally transformed with the magic of creative spirit.
The Cats Empire
It all begins somewhere, doesn’t it? Even the most awe-inspiring creatures that prowl this earth, striking fear and reverence into anyone who crosses their path, begin the journeys in a vulnerable state.
Reaching for the stars, beginning their lives of magnificence and rulers of the physical plains and jungles, the Cats Empire allows the viewer a glimpse into their formative years. Just like all creatures, these primal creatures, poised to take their place at the top of their respective food chains, begin their lives with innocence and playful spirit.
Reaching for the stars, challenging each other at pouncing lessons, and pawing away at far-off objects high in the sky, the still-growing Cats Empire draws you in with their playful demeanour and sometimes clumsy nature. Afforded comfort and lack of responsibility by their mighty parents, these felines represent the carefree lifestyle of childhood before taking steps to greatness.
Because somewhere, lying not so deep below the surface, is raw power, grace and an indomitable zeal to rule above all that they survey. Their stripes and spots foretell a future of greatness, of stealth and glory. For now, however, the next Cats Empire plays harmlessly, unaware of the innate prowess that waits to arise within. Their futures are within grasp, but learning and training still lies ahead. Patience and determination is required to reach the heights of which the prophecies speak.
The Cats Empire began with the idea of a leopard, tiger, lion, and two jaguars representing the greatness of the magnificent cat species the world over. While they’ll roam different habitats, some making their homes in jungles and some in the trees, they spend a fleeting moment here, with a common innocence and playfulness. Beginning from hand-drawn sketches, this pattern was transformed into a digital illustration, capturing the gaze with a mischievous and carefree spirit. Available in 5 colour variations, the Cats Empire motivates you to enjoy the moment while on your way to greatness.
The Magic Giraffe
We’ve become accustomed to the sight of the elegant giraffe dominating the horizons of the African grasslands. And yet, have we really considered them?
Taking a secondary, lingering glance at a giraffe will quickly help you to see that this is a creature straight out of fantasy. The Magic Giraffe is not named so out of whim – it is, simply, unlike any other creature we’ve become so used to seeing. With access to the most succulent leaves upon the tallest of trees, the Magic Giraffe is privy to the secrets of the savannah grown with the help of the sun’s rays.
It’s from this privilege that nature has afforded to it, that the Magic Giraffe has become the gentlest creature in the land, with the foresight and wisdom to match. With its far-reaching aura and gaze, the noble and fantastical creature becomes a medium between the heavens and earth, a place, which can be to many, the gardens of Marrakesh.
Served willingly by vervet monkeys who seek to learn from the Giraffe’s deeper vision of the universe and the secrets that it offers, the long-necked sage needs not show intimidation to gain respect. Its gentle nature and soft confidence speaks volumes as it symbolically travels across the realm on an otherworldly carpet. And so, its magical aura emanates over the plains like an African sunset, helping the realm to achieve balance so that lands can bear fruit and beauty tomorrow – to those who seek it out with the purest of intention.
Available in four mesmerising colour variations, this pattern offers balance in decadent tones. Strong, yet subtle, create elements are contrasted by natural offerings of fruit and flowers – roses and their petals, pomegranates, peaches, jasmine, bougainvillea, oranges, grapes, figs, and acanthus.
It is among these flowers and fruits that the Magic Giraffe can be found, and those creatures who seek his sage-like wisdom pass through and into this transient Moroccan garden. The garden, in all its sensory splendour, guides the other animals as they pass by, drawing them in with their fragrances – aromas, that some say, are directly from paradise. And at night, in that state between sleep and waking, is when these fragrances are more pronounced, each fruit and flower fills their air with their individual perfumes to create a medley that invites other creatures in to seek counsel with the almost-mythical Magic Giraffe. A visionary piece for those with visionary, timeless elegance, the Magic Giraffe offers a sense of focus and transcendence.
The Grand Treasure of African Crowned Crane
When looking past its beady-eyed stare, there’s an ancient sense of knowing that lies beyond the eyes of the African Crowned Crane. Ever-aware, its eyes are always on the lookout, making sure that no creature trespasses into its realm.
But what lies within the realm of the African Crowned Crane? Its regal crown suggests that these creatures belong to an ancient line of royalty, one that migrated over deserts, plains, and savannah and captured within their soul a sense of the world and all its wonders.
Perhaps it’s this long history of remembering the world and the African continent as it was, and is, that gives the African Crowned Crane its particular treasure. It’s a treasure that was once sought after by many who passed through the Crane’s lands. Some have seen its red and white colouring around those steely-blue eyes, adorned by its golden, almost thorny crest and knew that the Crane and its kind kept something from the world.
Treasures, trinkets, gems and jewels – are these the treasures that those seek from the African Crowned Crane? Or does this somewhat surreal winged creature dare you to look beyond, warning you of the lure of worldly riches with its call? Some say that its appearance invites a wandering of the consciousness, prompting one to seek spiritual riches and the connections between their world and the natural, finding the intricate geometry and archway entrances to deeper meaning.
The Grand Treasure of the African Crowned Crane began as a hand-drawn sketch turned digital illustration. This design invites the eye with its exhibition of winged grandeur contrasted by the metallic tones and floral accompaniments. Available in three, lively colour variations, this pattern is either a reminder for the seeker or a symbol of riches. Or both.
THE TROPICAL PARADISE
Do childhood reveries come true? It appears so. The colours, the textures, the cacophony of sounds that permeate into your being – a tropical paradise as you’ve always dreamed.
Whether it’s a dream or you really did make your way to a tropical, jungle paradise as you’ve wished for since you were little, it doesn’t really matter. You’re here, you’re in the moment, and you’re living it.
What dreams may come your way depends on your choices. Perhaps it’s destiny, who knows? Your mind is still racing but with each squawk of a nearby parrot, you feel your soul being soothed.
You would never have thought that nature, in all its splendour, could bring you peace while causing you tremble at the same time.
It’s the good kind of tremble – life has never been this real. With each step you take, you begin to connect as the foliage crunches underfoot. Reaching out a hand, the thick leaves of the jungle brush against your fingertips. This is what bliss is all about – to feel like you’re dreaming while knowing that you’re grounded in all that’s pure. As you take in every vivid colour and all its accompanying textures, your entire being is illuminated. Your tropical paradise is colour therapy for your all your senses.
Beginning as hand-drawn sketches, each variation of these designs and patterns is then digitally illustrated – there’s soul at every stage of the Ilona Tambor process.
Your Tropical Paradise takes many forms, and with three varying colour schemes, from darker hues to crisper tones, each variant is available to you.
Deep in the forest, as the tale goes, there lives the wisest of creatures. Etched in our collective psyche, the owl possesses wisdom beyond what we can fathom. Finding the majestic beast of the fables means taking a journey far into the darkest of forests, with only slivers of moonlight and the distant twinkling of the stars to guide you.
As the stars fade and the moonlight wanes, and you think you’ve lost your way, silence descends. The eeriness sets in, but there’s an unmistakable presence just ahead. It’s almost human. Almost.
It’s unlikely, you think to yourself. There isn’t anyone around for miles. Just as you’re about to turn back, two, rich, yellow orbs of light illuminate the space around you.
Transfixed, you stare into the eyes of the woodland creature, but you feel as if it knows you better than you know yourself. Its proud form creates an aura around it – one of intricate,
otherworldly patterns and, seemingly, a geometric halo around the owl’s head. Beyond, it’s almost as if the fabric of all of space and time lies in the here and now.
And as the creature nods ever so slightly before slowly closing its eyes and disappearing into nothing, you know that you’ve found the answers that you’ve been seeking.
The delicate and intricate Owl pattern is available in four colour variations, appearing in vivid, psychedelic tones or in the more minimalist black and white.
Each of these designs and patterns have been sketched by hand, before being transformed into digital and coming to life in saturated splendour.
All colour variations have one thing in common – those deep, piercing yellow eyes.
THE MYSTERIOUS LION KING
Where colour, reality and fantasy intersect, lying just beyond our reach, a secret kingdom is found where the natural order of flora and fauna achieve balance and harmony.
Passing by the tweeting and chirping, the croaking and the cackling, through the foliage, his two eyes surveys his kingdom. Nestled in the evergreen lies his throne and he sits proud, courageous and powerful. Possessing a mane like no other and a countenance that radiates nobility, the mysterious lion king is both an imposing and compassionate force.
His majesty earns him respect throughout the kingdom, where creatures both great and small feel protected and respected. The little birds, his scouts and confidantes, bring him news of the goings – on. Donning a regal crown, befitting only a king like him, the mysterious lion is a fantastical figure – one with eyes of two, distinct colours, every other creature believes him to be of two realms.
His curious case of heterochromia is well-suited to his surroundings, where brilliant, luminous colour fills the landscape.
Embracing the beauty of his surroundings, where vines form archways and flowers are ever-flourishing, the mysterious lion king is an extension of the fantastical mind of Ilona Tambor.
This entrancing pattern captivates the gaze through its use of complementary, spirited, lucid colours.
Among Tambor World’s designs and patterns, this is available in two colour variations, the tones change like the setting and rising of the sun. After all, rumour has it that the mysterious lion king resides in both the realms.
As one of the stories go, Peonies are named so after a beautiful nymph called Paeonia found herself in the presence of Apollo. Apollo, captivated by Paeonia’s beauty, begins to flirt with his desired one.
Paeonia’s beauty attracted the eye of a Greek god, but the scene did not go unnoticed. Aphrodite was watching the situation unfold, and the bashfulness of Paeonia, through her innocence, causes her to turn bright red. Her bashfulness did not save her, for in Aphrodite’s anger, she transforms Paeonia into a red peony.
The myths around this splendid flower are numerous, meaning that this flower is one associated with many forms of positive symbolism. Bashfulness and innocence are just two of them, but so is good fortune, compassion, and even healing. A flower that symbolises kindness, with properties to that can heal is a flower that is a treasure, indeed.
Its rich tones emanate an aura of goodness from every, individual petal. There bounty is represented here, with peonies abound in this striking, intense, and picturesque illustration.
Surrounding yourself with the deep, saturated hues of the flourishing peony promises abundance in spirit and endless possibility.
It’s this exuberance found in the natural world that Ilona Tambor harnesses, exhibiting the depth and intricacy inherent in every, individual flower in this print.
The beauty of these peonies have inspired a hand-drawn sketch, in the collection of designs and patterns, that becomes transformed by a digital illustration where splashes of colour are added.
The peonies are illuminated through artistic wonders, creating two colour variations of this pattern.