Sanayi 313 co-founder Serena Uziyel is a bona fide globe-trotter.
The Turkish designer calls Istanbul home, but on any given day, she’s likely at her factory outside Florence, Italy, sailing to Greece or traveling between Jaipur and Mumbai in India to oversee her exquisitely embroidered and beaded slipper mules.
“I’ve lived in several places, including Turkey, France, Italy, the U.S. and Spain,” she said. “Having a multicultural background and traveling between so many countries has greatly influenced my eye and work.”
Uziyel’s footwear has also reached multiple stores — Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus and Net-a-porter.com all stock her ornate creations.
Her resort ’18 collection was conceptualized on a recent trip to India, which inspired the color palette. “It’s the first time we’ve used bright colors,” Uziyel said. “Thematically, we also introduced turtle motifs, which signify good luck in both India and Turkey.”
Turkish handicrafts are a consistent influence. “I use adaptations of traditional Ottoman weaving and embellishment techniques,” Uziyel said, noting that Istanbul’s Çukurcuma area is a good place to wander for ideas. “The cobblestone streets are filled with eclectic shops that encapsulate the history and culture of Turkey. There is lots of modern art, antique jewelry, furniture, vintage clothing, used books, brass ornaments, old photographs and other knickknacks from the past.”
Here, she shares some of her other delights.
Guilty pleasure: “Ordering room service. I love being tucked away in comfortable white blankets in a nice hotel watching movies.”
Signature scent: “Hermès – Un Jardin en Mediterranee.”
Design soundtrack: “I often listen to classical music while working and love ‘Four Seasons’ by Antonio Vivaldi.”
Travel essentials: “Eye drops, Cutler & Gross glasses, my computer and a notebook.”
A visitor to Turkey should never leave without … “Turkish delights and an evil-eye amulet.”
Best Istanbul eats: “The Sanayi 313 [restaurant], of course! It feels like home to me. I love the open buffet, and it has great, fresh choices for vegetarians.
“I love the atmosphere of Karakoy Lokantasi – it’s very sophisticated and offers great meze (small dishes meant to be eaten with raki).
“Datli Maya is cozy restaurant. The space itself is actually quite small – you order at the entrance where the bakers are working. The rustic décor and relaxed, homey atmosphere makes it the perfect place to have a casual meal.
“Bebek Balikcisi is another favorite – it opened in 1998 and is a classic, upscale fish restaurant with an open-air terrace that overlooks the Bosphorus.”