French artist and designer Barthélemy is also deeply interested in the way motifs, stories and memories echo across the Mediterranean. He first visited Positano in 2021 at the invitation of Carla Sersale, the founder of fashion and lifestyle brand Emporio Sirenuse, who had long admired his work. He was entranced by what he saw. The town’s traditional cube houses with their cross-vaulted ceilings were not so different from certain traditional dwellings in Morocco, Tunisia or Egypt. The way life is governed by the daily parabola of the sun and the annual seasonal cycle was also a shared trait.

Back then, inspired by a long stay in the Egyptian oasis of Siwa, Barthélemy transplanted the smoking profile of Vesuvius and a charming Amalfi Coast townscape to a north African desert setting for a postcard design that was later translated into patterns applied to a range of pareos, swim trunks, t-shirts and ashtrays.

Now he returns to Emporio Sirenuse with a joyous capsule collection that again brings Egypt and the Amalfi Coast into playful proximity. A whimsical dive into the myths and legends that connect both of these ancient Mediterranean cultures, the vibrant new collection tells a captivating fiction: the story of two mythical sirens who swam from the underwater ancient city of Alexandria to the shores of Positano, guided by the tides and bathed in Italy's glorious sun.

Sirenusess24 00947

At the centre of the composition is the artist’s fanciful spin on the twin mermaid motif that Le Sirenuse long ago adopted as its logo – most famously in the brass keyrings that can still be admired behind the hotel’s front desk. Barthélemy reimagined these mythical creatures as an Egyptian male and female pair who, one starlit night, set out from the Nile estuary for the Amalfi Coast. The man sports an elaborated wig of curls and beads, while the woman facing him wears the headdress of Hathor, mother of sun god Ra – the tutelary deity of beauty, sensuality, music and dancing.

Between them they hold a fiery sun, while in the background, beneath a starry sky, the iconic view of Positano’s stack of houses is transformed into a landscape that is both land and water, Italy and Egypt.

Whatsapp Image 2024 05 14 At 23.16.30

Positano’s iconic mother church dome and hill of houses can be made out, but the town’s loggias and cupolas have a distinctly African feel, and there is no mistaking the Sphinx, or the Lighthouse of Alexandria – one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World – that rises just behind the male siren’s jaunty checkerwork tail. Like his female partner’s, this pattern is inspired by the painted geometric ceilings of Thebes’ ancient tombs. All around, fish and turtles glide, fronds of seaweed sway, and the great river of life flows on.

Barthélemy went on to reproduce his original design, based around nocturnal shades of malachite green, in two other summery colorways. There’s a vibrant pink variant that celebrates all that is rosy in life and love, and another, which the French designer admits is his favourite, that plays with the sandy olive, earth and iron oxide shades of a faded fresco.

Sirenusess24 01109

Printed on silk twill milled in Como, the capsule includes a range of ready to wear items including band-collared blouses, tailored Bermuda shorts, breezy cabana shirts and palazzo pants, as well as two sizes of scarves. Shop the collection online or at the Emporio Sirenuse stores in Positano.

Photos by Sergio Ghetti

Le Sirenuse Newsletter

Stay up to date

Sign up to our newsletter for regular updates on Amalfi Coast stories, events, recipes and glorious sunsets

From our


View all articles

A member of

Proudly included in