Istanbul is exploding with jewel-box boutiques and on-the-verge designers; there’s a glamour and optimism in the balmy air. Here are some starting points from which to get lost in the find.
Start at Armaggan for seven floors of hand-crafted Ottoman-inspired jewelry, exquisite caftans and other splurge-y Turkish collectibles. Then head to basement boutique Cassette for a riot of colour and texture in the form of hand-crafted shoes—from creepers to colour-blocked brogues. At Yastik, founded by designer Rifat Ozbek, you’ll find gorgeous cushions made from textiles inspired by Ottoman silks, Anatolian floral patterns and ikat. Lastly, get buzzed up to the atelier of Dilek Hanif, Turkey’s answer to Marchesa, where you can swoon over billowy, Greek goddess ball gowns.
Enter at any one of its 22 gates and jump into the fray. Head for artisans like Hilat, with museum-worthy gold jewelry, and stylist favourite Cocoon, specializing in Central Asian rugs, textiles, cushions and housewares. Sequestered just outside is the atelier of jewelry designer Sevan Biçakçi. While his pieces—a mosaic and precious stone ring crafted to resemble a Medusa head, say—might be out of budget (his clientele includes Celine Dion), his artistry alone is worthy of a visit.
Start at A La Turca, neighbourhood tastemaker Erkal Aksoy’s four-storey home crammed with those long-haired tulu kilims that look so good with modern interiors, plus ornate bird cages and vintage globes. Just over the road is the showroom of Nahide Büyükkaymakçi, a prodigiously talented collector and designer known for exquisite tear-drop chandeliers and leather furnishings. In a similar vein, the showroom of interior designer Ash Günsiray is a decophiles dream: the richness of Turkey, while simplistic and tasteful.
Pop by the boutique of Paris-trained Bahar Korçan, whose delicate hand-printed prints show up on flowing dresses. Shop for neyzen rake carafes or brooches in the shape of the Sultan’s head at curiosity shop Lunapark Retail & Production Design. Then end your style odyssey at Atelier 55—a light-filled, art-lined space trafficking in punish jewelry by Tom Binns and Vivienne Westwood, and leather bustier dresses from local up-and-comer Ece Salici.