Your Life: Serena Crawford

An international designer and influencer who loves travelling as much as she loves coming home, Crawford’s curiosity, style and zest for life have allowed her to turn her passions into business and her colleagues into lifelong friends.

By Leigh Herringer
Effervescent and always stylish, Serena pictured in Portugal

Luxury is time and swimming in the sea and having the time to swim in the sea.

My travel style: I call it high-low travel; I’m as happy camping as I am in a five-star hotel. On trips that I do alone, I like to have a few days of glamour and then do the rest in medium style. I’m not a spoilt traveller.

Essential travel items: Face oils – I love the Double Serum from Clarins – and I always travel with a cashmere shawl that I bought in India.

Clarins Double Serum is one of Serena’s travel essentials
Happy snap in India – Serena’s daughter Siena (left) often co-hosts with her mother on luxury travel trips

I’ve recently travelled to Portugal, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Istanbul and am currently hosting a trip in India.

Design inspiration: Books and magazines; I love Miguel Flores Vianna’s books on houses and decorating and am mad about his new one on Greece. I would say my design icon is interior designer, Veere Greeney.

Miguel Flores-Vianna’s book on bohemian chic retreats in Greece
Serena’s design icon, international interior designer Veere Greeney

My style icons are my friends – I know an incredible group of very stylish people and they all influence me. I think it’s Daphne Guinness for jewellery and Lauren Santo Domingo for fashion and style.

Podcast: Scott Galloway, also known as Prof G.

On top of my book pile: I’m reading a book on Istanbul – A Tale of Three Cities by Bettany Hughes.

The most beautiful shops I’ve been to…I love the shops in India, but I also love them in Japan. One of my favourites is Africa Nova in Cape Town.

Contemporary artefacts at Africa Nova, one of Serena’s favourite shops in Cape Town

My sanctuary: Plettenberg Bay.

At home by the pool in Plettenberg Bay

A rule that I live by: Always be generous in spirit and heart.

Home is: Candles, fires, my darling husband, our dogs, and a comfortable bed.

I collect: I used to have collections of things and have done a huge edit this year. I still have my blue-and-white ceramic collection, which I have gathered from all over the world, but the only thing I really collect now is clothes.

Serena has collected blue and white ceramics from all over the world, as pictured in the kitchen of her previous Cape Town home

Most treasured possession: Our dogs.

New in my wardrobe: I bought an outfit from the Italian clothing brand LaDoubleJ.

Signature scent: I’m very unfaithful and I wear many different ones, but I’m in love with Guerlain Aqua Allegoria in Nerolia, and it’s been much admired.

A current signature scent

To unwind: I play on my phone.

TV Series: I don’t often watch a series, even though I always imagine I will. I listen to podcasts and audiobooks.

To keep fit: I walk and swim and I should be going to the gym, but I promise I’m starting again soon with weight training.

If I could build a house anywhere in the world: I adore the Adriatic so it would probably be there. I’d love a country-style beach house somewhere too.

South Africa is home; there is such human warmth here.

Sunglasses: I wear many types of sunglasses and buy most of them online from two stores I love in Venice. I wear Maui Jim’s on safari – they have the best lenses and are so light.

Serena wears Maui Jim’s on safari

My latest project is in Portugal. I’m also continuing with my travel business – I take small groups on personal, luxury trips. I’m also getting ready for speaking engagements this month in Australia with famous garden designer Paul Bangay and interior designer Charlotte Taylor.

My sneakers: Oh, I love sneakers. I have just bought some khaki Merrells with a Vibram sole. They’re not about fashion – they’re practical, serious safari shoes. For every day I like New Balance, The Intelligent Choice 327 – I think they are very cool and chic. My other favourites are the Japanese Onitsuka Tigers – I adore them.

Onitsuka Tigers from Japan

Visit @serenacrawford or @serenacrawfordtravel for details on her luxury insider travel trips.

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