Designer, Le Sirenuse, Positano
Part of the famous family-run Le Sirenuse hotel in Positano, Italy, the namesake label has easy, elegant pieces that are perfect for every vacation wardrobe. Milanese-born Carla Sersale, the designer behind the brand, has quite the enviable life: after meeting her hubby in New York, she moved to Positano with him and has since been living the glamorous Le Sirenuse life for twenty years (while running the Emporio Le Sirenuse boutiques at the same time, of course). Inspired by the Le Sirenuse lifestyle, Le Sirenuse, Positano collection was born in 2012, with the help of her Mumbai-based niece, Viola Parrocchetti, a young designer herself. Three collections later, the label is carried in boutiques in Greece and most recently, Bergdorf Goodman and one of our favorite go-to’s, MatchesFashion.com. In an exclusive interview Carla Sersale spills on how she went from hotelier to designer, shares the hidden gems of Positano (and she of all people would know!) and the secret to good style (hint: it's not black and white!).
VacationStyle: Can you tell us what it’s like to live the glamorous Le Sirenuse life? What’s your favorite part?
Carla Sersale: Le Sirenuse is a very special place. The view, for a start, you cannot forget. The staff are polite but very personal and when you come here on holiday, you immediately feel part of the family. My husband Antonio and I go home to sleep, but spend our days and every meal at the hotel. We meet many people. This is the best part of living my life at Le Sirenuse. In twenty years I remember very few boring evenings. We meet the most extraordinary people. We are very lucky.
VS: How did the idea of the Le Sirenuse Collection come about? How does it fit in relation to everything that at Le Sirenuse?
CS: In 2012 I opened a second store, next to my first one. Both are in front of the hotel and we wanted to create a little piazzetta. At the same time my niece Viola Parrocchetti was living in India experimenting with design. I went to her trunk show in Milan and realized she had talent. So I asked her to help me create the Le Sirenuse Collection, and I spent two months in Mumbai that winter with her. The first collection was launched in my stores in the Spring 2013 and it was a great success from the start.
VS: How do you find your inspiration to create a different vision each season inspired by different places? Do you keep Positano in mind while you design the collection even when it’s inspired by another place?
CS: I don’t really get inspired by different ‘places'. The first collection was inspired by the souzani traditional embroideries from Central Asia. We are big collectors of these extraordinary textiles. I used many of their patterns to create different prints or pillow’s embroideries. After this the designs evolved in a natural way. My niece is the creative motor of everything I make.
VS: What can we expect to see in your future collections? Any other potential areas that you would branch into like jewelry or leather goods?
CS: More prints. Lots of colors. A majority of cotton voile caftans, with some silk, and some hand embroidered amor beaded pieces.
VS: What are some of your favorite places & hidden gems in Positano that are a must?
Apart from these, truly no one should miss an evening at our Champagne and Oyster Bar, which is the most pleasant place in Positano. And I also suggest an aperitivo at our new new bar: Franco’s Bar. Our restaurant La Sponda is also very good. Our new amazing chef, Gennaro Russo is 29 years old and full of talent. We have a michelin star.
VS: How has your style evolved since living in Positano?
CS: Positano is full of sunshine and for a Milanese like me that’s always a joyful surprise, every morning. The colors here are something that get under your skin. You stop thinking (or wearing) black and white and ecru. You think and wear COLORS.
VS: You're go-to brands on vacation aside for your own?
CS: J.Crew for easy day wearing. Dries Van Noten; Duro Olowu; Figue.
VS: Beauty essentials you cannot travel without?
CS: Eau d’Italie, eau de toilette, of course. What else?
VS: You travel a lot to India. Can you tell us a bit about that and what is so special about it?
CS: Mumbai is my favorite town in India. It is a town with a soul. And everybody seems to be almost always be in a good mood, even against all odds. I have been staying at the Taj Majal hotel and at the Royal Yacht Club. Both were very old school and charming.
VS: Favorite hotel you've ever stayed in?
CS: The best hotel I have ever stayed in was the Ritz in Paris. Lets hope it will reopen soon and will be even better…
VS: What was the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
CS: Never take your self too seriously. Life is too short for that.
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