ISSUE TWO - A TALE OF TWO CONTINENTS
A whirlwind trip to the textile show in Istanbul left just enough time to see some of the famous sites, including the beautiful Topkapi Palace, home to the extravagant Ottoman Sultans from the 15th Century. Elaborate tulip tiled rooms with magnificent domed ceilings frame rooms set around courtyards, scattered over a vast park overlooking the Golden Horn.
It’s where Europe stops and Asia starts. Get a glimpse of its vast scale (15 million people) from one of the seven hills, or from the Bosphorus, on one of the many cruise boats that provide a perfect view of the lavish waterfront homes.
The shimmering Spice Market was filled with temptation - tasters of Turkish delight, dried fruits and nuts. Every shop offered thick strong Turkish coffee or Chai served in small glasses delivered on silver trays. A free Waitrose coffee paled in comparison. Outside, I couldn’t resist the freshly squeezed pomegranate stalls doted on the street corners, nor the roasted chestnuts with their Christmassy aroma.
A huge studded door lead us into the Grand Bazaar. Here brightly lit mini shops (not unlike the Burlington Arcade) were filled with treasure, including beautiful antique jewels, intricate carpets and the softest leather. Christmas shopping was sorted in a matter of hours and didn’t break the bank.
We then headed south – a 50 minute hop by plane to the palm filled seaside resort of Antalya, where our Atelier is situated. Who Made My Clothes is an important question. The human and environmental cost of clothing is being scrutinised and transparency is a good first step. We believe that the future lies with Slow Fashion.
I stayed in a small hotel the ancient walled town. Breakfast was served in the pretty garden with oranges and bananas freshly picked from their trees, alongside homemade jams of every variety, plus cheeses, olives, tomatoes, cucumbers and a type of hot donut. All delicious. On Sunday morning I strolled through the empty windy streets, tempted to leave a trail behind me, until I reached the sea and beyond that, breath-taking silhouettes of mountains. The perfect antidote to frenetic Istanbul.
If you can’t get to Turkey, get a taste of the opulence at the British Museum, where there are 1,500 objects from west Africa to south east Asia, including fourteenth-century books, Turkish shadow puppets, incense burners, ceramics, jewellery, paintings, cooking pots and dresses, plus the tulips and silk turbans of the Ottoman rulers.