The Siren of Istanbul Featured

Meet Mrs. Ertan Carmikli: owner of her own couture brand, perfume and now designer of a jewellery collection


Turkey Editor

Some people do have them both - beauty and brains. Siren Ertan Çarmıklı is one of those women who know exactly what they want to do with their lives, and lucky enough to have a talent for it. Born and raised in Izmir, Ertan Çarmıklı moved to Istanbul after studying textile design in college. She worked with a well-known textile mogul and fell in love with the world of fashion. The clothes she designed for herself were such a big hit in her social circle and even in the press that she decided to open her own studio and start her own fashion brand.

The last year we saw you creating a leather collection for local brand Punto, a resort collection, a brand new perfume and finally the exclusive jewellery collection for Zela. Are we missing anything?
I know how it looks but I love living life to the fullest, adding something to my life and to the lives of those around me. I feel euphoric when I take another step towards creating something new for my brand because I started it from scratch.

You’ve turned your passion for fashion into a lucrative business. We know that people from all around Turkey knock on your door for their wedding or prom night. Who are these Siren Ertan women? What kind of a character do you envision as you’re designing your gowns?
My ambition is to create for an elegant, chic, impressive, feminine and yet strong woman who I always want to see reflected in my clients, and of course to make them happy. I believe that it’s more important for someone to dress in line with their age, status and the occasion, rather than based on the whims of fashion. That’s how I approach a client: I highlight the most beautiful parts of her body, hide its imperfections and create a gown that fits her perfectly in colour, proportion and style. I’m inspired by my client and focus solely on her. For sure, style is an important aspect while designing for someone.

What does style mean to you? Share one of your design secrets with us.
Style definitely adds value to a person. The most important elements of what we call style are its continuity and adaptability. That’s why I say it should come from within. If you are worried, it’s OK to get professional help!

You named both your perfume and your haute couture brand Istanbul. Since you are from Izmir, I believe Istanbul is not your first love but still it’s captivating enough for you to keep right next to your name. What’s your relationship with Istanbul?
Istanbul is the city that I love, that nurtures and enriches me. I never complain about it and always notice the silver lining in anything negative that comes my way. Having said that, I’m also proud of my Izmir roots; it’s made me who I am today. I named my brand Siren Ertan ISTANBUL because this city gave me my beloved husband and my business.

Since our sense of smell is directly connected to our survival instinct, each scent we smell interacts with our brain and our memories. What does your perfume evoke? And how have you come to create it?
I believed that creating a perfume was the right move for my brand, and I also loved Patrick Süskind’s novel ‘Perfume’! My perfume has light, fruity scents such as apple and fig in the top notes; Madagascar vanilla flower, Grasse jasmine, Guaiac tree, cedar tree and patchouli in its heart notes and amber, white musk, caramel and sandal in its base notes. It’s basically made for my warm-hearted, attractive and feminine ideal of a woman. The scent was created in the Grasse region of France, and is now sold at select Tekin Acar stores.

How do you think the international fashion world sees Turkish fashion?
I’m often saddened to think that we are gigantic producers of textile and we have so much potential to grow but we are somehow not achieving some crucial goals, such as creating a renowned international brand. Wrong policies, personal interests and lack of trust in design were some of the factors that contributed to this slowness but I think now we are coming on stronger than ever. Even though Turkish fashion is not a hot topic in the international arena, successful designers such as Rifat Ozbek, Dice Kayek and Bora Aksu have represented us with distinction.

What’s your latest project? What should we expect from you in 2013?
I’m acting as a consultant to Zela in their design department, and informing them about women’s jewellery preferences and expectations. This 8-month process gave birth to an exclusive collection named Siren Ertan ISTANBUL for Zela.

Siren Ertan ISTANBUL
Abdi Ä°pekçi Caddesi No: 5/3 D:6
Nişantaşı, Istanbul
Tel.+90 212 234 23 31