Carla Sersale spends the off-season in her 18th-century Rome apartment, but every summer she returns home to her Positano oasis, Le Sirenuse. This beyond chic boutique hotel has been owned by the Sersale family for decades; it was here 20 years ago that Carla took control of the famed hotel's fashion boutique. After many years stocking the world?s toniest wares, Carla has finally created her own collection, inspired by the intense color and effortless lifestyle of Italy?s famed Amalfi coast.
How would you describe your style? Who, what, or where is the inspiration behind your style?
Positano is very colorful: the deep blue sea, the green and yellow mountain, the multicolored houses that cling to the rocks, the yellow and green sixteen century cupola that you see from all windows and terraces of our hotel, Le Sirenuse. I love all colors and the new boho gypsy style that is in fashion now. I was always fascinated by the mainly red and yellow Central Asian textiles and the suzani patterns inspired most of my collection. All of it speaks to me about hot summers, love and happiness.
How does your personal style translate to your uber chic boutique at Le Sirenuse?
I have been buying for the Emporio Le Sirenuse for twenty years and went through various phases and different styles. Now that I launched Le Sirenuse collection, I really set my imagination free to mix colors and patterns in many different prints and embroideries. I also collect and select beautiful glassware from Murano, nature inspired jewelry made in gold and bronze and other resortwear brands made of light weight flowing material.
What do you love most about Positano? Can you share your top three favorite spots for eating, drinking, shopping and beaching? Please be as a specific as possible.
Positano is a small, strange, vertical village, where you either climb or descend. The view is the so spectacular that you really cannot forget it for life. The sea is a very deep, intense blue that feels immense, mysterious and fascinating. In the middle of it are the Islands of Li Galli, that were once called Islands of the Sirens, hence the name of our hotel.
There is a shack on a beach not too distant from the main beach of Positano, called Da Adolfo, Positano. To reach it, you just climb on a boat with a red fish on the mast and they take you there. The food is outstanding and the atmosphere is that of the 70s. Totally hippy (but really very chic). The waiters are always barefoot and sometimes barechested. They run up and down the few steps to the kitchen to bring you the most delicious, simple, streightforward local food. I love this place. You can also rent a small (usually half broken) bed on the beach and swim and spend your day there. At 6 o?clock is the last boat back.
At night, my favourite restaurant (well, a part from our La Sponda restaurant) is Next 2, a trendy bar/restaurant in a part of town called Fornillo, which is young and fun ? and truly delicious.
Finally, I need to mention our Champagne and Oyster Bar for drinks because it is by far the best place in town. We have a dj playing life btw 7 and 9 and people sit under al fresco watching the village lights mixing up with the sea and the moon and it is a breathtaking place. Unique. Incredibly romantic.
We are very envious that you get to spend your summers in Positano at Le Sirenuse! Can you share with us where you are during the off season?
We have an apartment in the center of Rome that we love. Rome is so beautiful that just going out for a stroll from time to time will restore your spirit. And I was not born in Rome, I am from Milan. So Rome remains for me a place to explore and discover and there is a lot to see in Rome. And to eat and to drink and to watch. I also spend a month or two in India, working with my niece to design my caftans and my embroidered cushions. This year we are also doing scarves, canvas bags and beauty cases.
Where are your favorite places to travel to and why?
I love Nepal where we have stayed in that delightful hotel in Kathmandu called Dwarika?s, where all the old, wooden doors and windows were part of the owners? collection before they even had the hotel. And where we went trekking along the most famous of all routes, in Mustang, a separate realm inside the republic of Nepal. I love the sweet, charming city of Istambul. And I love going to London and New York for all the opposite reasons. Finally I would very much love to visit Uzbekistan, home of the suzanis and the ikats. Maybe one day I will go.
Name three of your favorite shopping destinations anywhere in the world. These can be shops or markets, and please tell us why you like them so much and of course what you buy there.
Shopping in London is by far my favourite. The Brits have an eccentric side in their personality that makes them different from the rest of the world and their fashion is always avant-garde and fun. I also love the most iconic concept store in Mumbai, Bungalow Eight, where my friend Maithili sells the most fabulous scarves and a lot more. Finally there is a small store in the Arasta Bazaar of Istambul called Cocoon, where my husband and I bought the most beautiful old ikat and suzani we ever found in our life.
What is your favorite item you have ever purchased or been given while on a trip?
I was taking part in the Indagare Souk in New York last May and met lovely Lenora who was selling at the stand neighboring mine. I bought her pink embroidered linen shorts and wore them all summer! So chic. And she is wonderful! See Filip ? Inna.
Souk or Department Store?
DIY or Concierge Service?
Buy Everything or Buy Nothing?
Camping or 5-Star Hotel?
5 Star-Hotel (of course)
Drive or be Driven?
Room service or Street Food?
Lots of Luggage or Carry-on Bag?
Lots of luggage
Enter to win a 4-night stay at Le Sirenuse! Our sweepstakes includes a $2500 airfare gift card courtesy of Fodor's Travel, a $2000 shopping spree courtesy of L-atitude & Joyous, and a Travel Elite Membership to Indagare.