A distinct crackle of excitement greeted the catwalk models at Istanbul Fashion Week from October 10-13. The delighted crowd was treated to an exotic range of glorious garments from daywear to full-on avant-garde, courtesy of a dynamic and flourishing design community.
Now in its sixth season, Turkey’s most significant fashion event is a vibrant platform for established and younger designers alike to showcase their ideas for a worldwide audience. Almost 30,000 visitors witnessed 33 designers sending singular creations down the runway.
Swarovski sponsored two of them for their Spring/Summer 2013 collections: Atil Kutoglu, whose use of SWAROVSKI ELEMENTS added dramatic glamour to black bandeau dresses, sheer nude gowns, and trouser suits. The other was jewelry designer Deniz Kaprol, with her sparkling Sixties-style retro pendants, statement rings and earrings.
Kaprol is one of Turkey’s most inventive jewelry designers, drawing inspiration from surrealism and “the beyond”. Eschewing traditional Turkish gold to work with “younger, more versatile silver”, she established her Istanbul-based label dKaprol in 2004, and is renowned for fantastical performance-art-style presentations. “Chateau” (Istanbul Fashion Week 2011), established her as a visionary. Models sported bronze, silverplated 3D body parts and organs studded with SWAROVSKI ELEMENTS, while the recent “Fallen Angels” show featured bare-chested male models in flowing skirts and elaborate wings, wearing chunky geometric pieces accented with crystals.
Atil Kutoglu had models of the caliber of Alek Wek modeling for him when he opened Istanbul Fashion Week in 2009 and 2010, and his devotees includes Jessica Alba, Anna Paquin, Elizabeth Jagger, Princess Ira von Fürstenberg, Naomi Campbell, and Heidi Klum. Not a bad fan base. Describing his brand as “a combination of architectural elements and geometry with an oriental flair”, Atil’s inspiration comes from “a golden age of Ottoman and Turkish cultures, translated into minimalist, contemporary clothes”. Silk, cashmere, and leather contrast with the traditional, colorful textiles for which Turkey is so famous, giving his ranges global appeal.
Both Atil and Deniz prove that the emerging Turkish fashion industry is one to watch, and that Istanbul Fashion Week is the place to be for the hottest new style innovations emerging from the region.