3 Best Ottoman/Modern Shopping Experiences Featured

Istanbul, Turkey’s cultural capital, is an ever-changing, modern and dynamic city that never forgets its past. The streets, architecture and waterfront neighbourhoods are awash with Ottoman history, echoing in soaring domes, whimsical tilework and carved wooden doors. Artists and designers living and working here use this setting as the starting point for work that coalesces tradition with modernity, to create something truly unique. Here are some of the most inspired.

by Lisa Morrow

Turkish Modern

turkish modern finalTurkish Modern

Şeyda Doğan Carter took her passion for the traditional Turkish footwear known as rafik to the next level by learning how to make them, becoming Turkey’s first female cordwainer. This was just the beginning for Turkish Modern. Together with her husband Alex, they set about re-imagining Ottoman and tribal designs using contemporary aesthetics to make furniture, footwear, clothing and accessories. Pick the perfect pair of handmade boots, slippers or slides crafted out of supple leather, if you can stop at just one. Or choose from rugs woven in silk, linen, wool and cotton that glow with colour and movement. Add a daybed, table or storage unit fashioned from reclaimed Black Sea oak.

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Nick’s Calligraphy: Lord of the Leaves 

nicks calligraphy finalNick's Calligraphy

Nick Merdenyan started selling antiques in Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar in 1968, but he’s best-known for painting on Dieffenbachia leaves. Each year he places the best leaves between the pages of large books to dry. When they’re silky smooth he decides on the subject. The shape and whorls of the patterns on the surface are worked into the design, which is realised in paint and gold leaf. At first, he followed the tradition of Turkish miniatures for his subjects. Now Nick calls his art ‘Leaves of Tolerance and Peace’ and includes all cultures and universal beliefs. He produces special orders on request.

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Gönül Paksoy

gonul paksoy finalGönül Paksoy

Gönül Paksoy uses the structure of severely austere Sufi Dervish robes, combined with exquisite attention to the most minute of details, to produce extraordinary garments. Just where Paksoy obtains the Ottoman fabrics she uses is unknown, but the quality of her clothing can’t be disputed. Dyed and handwoven fabrics are delicately embellished with embroidery, beading and over-sewing to mystical effect, creating a deceptively simple look. Every piece of clothing she produces is unique. Expect to find silk tunics, dresses and blouses, woven, wooden and bead jewellery and leather shoes that gently caress the skin. 


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