Istanbul Fashion Week is a hot ticket event, gaining a wider global audience with each passing season, helped in part by more international celebrities hitting the runways. While the winter shows don’t tend to attract as much international media as the summer shows, the Fall/Winter 2013 collections nevertheless reflected Istanbul’s growing importance on the global fashion stage. The opening show for the season was Gamze Saraçoğlu, while the Atıl Kutoğlu show on that same evening was the focus of the most media attention thanks to celebrity factor.
Other designers who showed their collection include Tuvana Büyükçınar, Niyazi Erdoğan, Erol Albayrak, Nejla Güvenç, Cengiz Abazoğlu, Mehtap Elaidi, Özlem Kaya, and Arzu Kaprol. There were also several mixed shows, giving younger and up-and-coming designers a chance to showcase their collections.
There was a lot of buzz surrounding Atıl Kutoğlu’s opening night show, thanks in no small part to model Lizzie Jagger (daughter of Rolling Stone’s Mick Jagger) and singer Jermaine Jackson taking the stage to model Kutoğlu’s designs. Kutoğlu has gained an international following with his designs, and this collection once again featured his trademark sexy and hyper-feminine looks, with lots of leather, satin, and plunging necklines, with feathers and geometric rhinestones adding embellishment.
Gamze Saraçoğlu’s show started with sound of footsteps crunching in the snow and panting, which then turned into a beat. The first model appeared on the runway in a long and tight teal green dress, with a deep open V-neck and equally plunging neckline at the back. The sole embellishment was a brown leather belt, an outfit that set the tone for the rest of the collection. The colors started with deep teal green, then deep orange, neutral plaids, poppy orange, camel, and finally cream, all accentuated with brown leather belts and straps,and fur trim on collars, arms and even hips.
Many of the pieces in Saraçoğlu’s collection featured intricate paneling, while the sharp tailoring and use of gold buttons gave many of the outfits a military or equestrian feel. This collection had a lot of long tight dresses, with many of the looks serving as a departure from Saraçoğlu’s previous works. While Saraçoğlu has used paneling in the past, it was never with such geometric shapes. Some of the strongest pieces in the collection were outerwear, such as a grey wool coat with a brown leather belt and arm straps, and another similar hooded version, with fur finish around the sleeves, pockets, and hood.
Another standout collection was presented by SimayBülbül, the local media darling who is known for her work with leather and monotone neutral colors. Her Winter 2013 show reflected a change in direction for the designer - the silhouettes were much more refined and ladylike than what we are used to seeing from Bülbül. While her signature leather was still present, there was now also a lot of satin, fur, and sequins, creating a very retro look reminiscent of the 1930s. Indeed this collection was a lot more glamorous in a more traditional sense, with Bülbül taking her inspiration from Keriman Halis Ece, the Turkish fashion model and beauty queen who was crowned Miss Turkey in 1932 and passed away earlier this year.
All in all, last week’s IFW was an important step in Istanbul’s fashion evolution, establishing Turkish designers yet again as talents to watch out for.