Dr. Serra Kirdar

BY Harper's Bazaar Arabia / Feb 27 2017 / 16:42 PM

41, Iraqi/British

Dr. Serra Kirdar

“Relaxation often takes a back seat in my life,” Dr Serra Kirdar tells Bazaar, and with one look at her life and CV, it’s not hard to see why. A doctor and specialist in education and women empowerment in the Arab world, a Life Fellow at St Antony’s College at the University of Oxford, a lecturer, researcher, patron of the British Film Institute and the University of Arts London, and author of Education in the Arab World which is due for release later this year, Serra is also a mother to her nine-year-old son Saif, which is her priority. “My days start at 6.30am when I get my son up and off to school, and they usually don’t finish until around midnight. I’m busy with meetings throughout the day, as well as writing, but I shift back into mother mode when it’s time to collect my son from school. We have dinner together every night and I make sure his homework is going smoothly. It’s an endless juggling act but my days are full and rich.”

Serra, grew up surrounded by a family who appreciated fashion. “My father and mother have such attention to detail. The unique pieces of jewellery my father has bought my mother, his immaculate attention to his own clothing and how my mother has always been one for ordering the most exquisite pieces of clothing, has had a profound impact on me. Watching my mother dress to attend the haute couture shows in Paris since I was just 13 years old means fashion and style is something deeply rooted in me, and it has been cultivated and developed over a lifetime.”

As a result, Serra’s closet is brimming with special purchases she’s made over the years. Those that top the list? “My haute couture Givenchy dress, that was made for me under the late Alexander McQueen, is one of my favourite items. The beauty of the lilac gown with its handmade 3D silver flowers that covered the skirting of the gown, and the memory of him on his knees as he worked to adjust the dress, is one I will always treasure. My Christian Lacroix wedding gown with its six-metre train and hand-stitched bodice with crystals, vintage lace and ice white fur is another treasure, as is my Elie Saab crystal and vintage lace hand-embroidered hippy skullcap veil.”

Describing her style as “an unconstructed blend of boho chic and glamour” Serra says it “cannot be copied or bought; it is neither conformist nor conventional.” In order to set herself apart, Serra “requests bespoke adjustments that reflect my personal style and taste, for example, instead of a fox fur bomber jacket in brown, I will challenge the designer to step out of their comfort zone and make it in electric blue for me. More recently, I ordered a leather jacket and requested fringing and my initials on the back. I believe that true luxury is the ability to have something unique, and only for me.”

Serra Kirdar wears Roberto Cavalli dress and Gucci shawl, both her own. Photography: Ben Sage. Styling: Samah Elmeri. Words: Maddison Glendinning. Make-up: Emma Regan using Tom Ford beauty and Umberto Giannini. Fashion Assistant: Jordan Grant