The air crackles as the music ratchets up the decibels in anticipation of Arzu Kaprol’s latest avant-garde collection. Androgynous models stride down the catwalk – they don’t float or waft, they claim it as their own with defiant, strong-shouldered purpose. One is struck by the super-sculpted cut of the designs – there’s an empowering cleanness about the lines she creates. Combining leather, jersey, cashmere, crêpe, ruched silk and sprinklings of crystal, Arzu’s retro-modern blend of strong silhouettes and eclectic materials has an elemental feel, suggesting a vision of what the future could look like.
For me, it’s all about how we perceive the future, yet depending on the past.
“For me, it’s all about how we perceive the future, yet depending on the past,” she says, speaking of her current Bauhaus-inspired collection. “I adore working on new forms and creating new surfaces, while using an ancient material like leather.”
Kaprol established her award-winning brand in 1995 and now has a strong retail presence in her homeland, Turkey. Her global profile shot through the roof two years ago after showing at Paris Fashion Week, leading to a partnership with London’s Harrods. Her Atelier collections are favored by celebrities such as Meg Ryan, Kelly Rowland and Gisele Bündchen, while Angela Lindvall cut a dramatically glamorous figure in a stunning black leather and sheer-silk gown during last year’s Cannes Film Festival.
It was clear from an early age where her destiny lay: “As a child I was surrounded by fabrics and tailoring. My grandmother, now 96, and my mother, 73, are amazing couturiers. The first thing I designed and tailored was a patch silk jersey T-shirt when I was 12.”
SWAROVSKI ELEMENTS have played a pivotal part in Kaprol’s designs over the past couple of years, featuring in all her shows and collections. “Even if it’s just a hint or subtle touch of shine, SWAROVSKI ELEMENTS add clarity, a feeling of uniqueness and exclusivity.” Crystals are usually factored into the design at the drawing-board stage, but she is quite capable of suddenly adding special new pieces just before a show. “That’s when I dive into my Swarovski treasure trove to see what excites me.
” With such a strong signature design concept, how does she decide on a direction for each new collection? “I believe any creative person naturally feels what comes next, and then we try to convert this feeling into a film, a novel, art or a dress, while not forgetting who we are creating for.”
Kaprol brims with passion for her work. “Everyday experience teaches us how to be creative. My office overlooking the Bosphorus River helps the process, and the chaos of Istanbul is a source of inspiration. Being creative is like breathing – it’s about harnessing the life force.”