Merhaba from Istanbul! Thanks to the CFDA Incubator program and its partnership with W Hotels, designer and current “incubator” Daniel Vosovic flew to Turkey for an inspiration trip and sent a charming note to your Daily with all the deets. Take it away, Danny boy!
After a very busy past couple of months—showtime, shipping our largest orders to-date, and preparing our e-commerce launch—I was more than ready for an escape from it all. As a partner of the CFDA Incubator program, W Hotels supports our amazing group of emerging designers with inspiration trips all over the world, from Bali to Barcelona, and I chose Istanbul. Though I’d never been to Turkey before, I picked it because its clash of cultures, ideas, and time periods were too tempting to miss.
Situated amongst a historic row of old houses just steps from the Bosphorus, the W Istanbul is a great example of the intersections of old and new that runs throughout the city. After recovering from a long plane ride (although, I must admit it was a decadent one, complete with a seven-course Turkish meal) with a good night’s sleep, I set out to explore the city’s offerings and hopefully, find inspiration for my next collection.
Along with my travel companions (CR Fashion Book’s Kristin Tice Studeman, my boyfriend Kieran, and the CFDA’s Johanna Stout and her boyfriend Stewart), I ventured to Istanbul’s historic, must-see landmarks, like the Galata Tower, Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, the Dolmabahce Palace, the Spice Market, and of course, the Grand Bazaar (the world’s oldest market). It was the bold colors of the carpets, the tiles/mosaics, and the fabrics that continued to strike a chord with me—pomegranate red, cobalt blue, and turquoise (the same color I used in my last collection) paired with white were everywhere I turned. While parading through the market (Kristin was in search of the perfect scarf and Kieran was on the hunt for a set of traditional Turkish tea cups), I stumbled upon a well-curated shop called Sebastian. The owner, named Muhammad, invited us in for apple tea and shared his handmade silk scarves and rugs, all of which were made of the finest quality materials. I am still wishing I had bought one scarf in particular, which was made from antelope hair and beautifully hand-embroidered with gold thread, light as a feather but warm as wool.
Afterward, we feasted on Turkish specialty dishes at a restaurant not far from the Spice Market. From the food (killer lamb kebabs and baklava) to the sweeping views overlooking the Golden Horn and the city, it was truly a delight to all the senses. We closed out the day watching Whirling Dervishes perform a ritual dance. As they whirled throughout the room, I was mesmerized by the way their floor-length skirts moved. With their white skirts and boxy jackets, paired with tall, tan felt hats, those guys might have been the chicest people in all of Istanbul! Too many more Turkish delights to share here, but come Spring 2014, you hopefully see my interpretation with my next collection.