It is not easy to describe the atmosphere as one walks the backstreets of Beyoğlu's Galata at dusk. Istanbul completely seduced me this time around, and I now want to know even more about Turkey's rich culture, architectural history, and textile traditions. How fortunate I am to be only one hour away from Sofia by plane. Visits here could be my new addiction.
One-of-a-kind felt creations featured at Laundromat, a must-visit shop co-owned by Turkish designers Öykü Thurston and Yasemin Özeri.
Natural fiber offerings and knits on display at Laundromat
Dear friends Sena and Seray of BOA Studio took me for a pre-dinner tour of Galata's neighborhood and were so gracious about pointing out designer boutiques like Laundromat, just down the street from Atelier 55, the very chic store and art cafe that showcases BOA's latest designs.
Not sure who designed this great clutch at Laundromat, but it is pretty sleek.
It was a such a treat to finally meet face to face with BOA Studio and get a better sense of what inspires and challenges them as one of the one of the most innovative sustainable fashion labels on the shores of the Bosphorus. I have previously written about their graphically lyrical, organic 'pamuk' (cotton) collections, but as of 2011, BOA will be transitioning to working with superfine bamboo for their tees and ready-to-wear designs. Sena is even growing bamboo in her own garden as a way to study the crop's rapid growth rate and limited water consumption.
How lucky was I to receive this gorgeous bamboo tee with one of Sena's original hand-drawn illustrations? Paired with the new BOA organic cotton black mini-skirt that I found at Atelier 55, I am totally set for upcoming travels during 2011.
Atelier 55's interior by day and by night
Atelier 55's chic and well-edited boutique is the only place in Istanbul where you can find names such as David Koma, Avsh Alom Gur, Charlotte Olympia, Umit Benan, Bora Aksu, BOA Studio, and Notting Hill Design. This must-visit store also sells stylish clothing and accessories under its own eponymous label. Jewelry by celebrated Turkish designers such as Kismet and decorative ceramics and paintings by local artists adds the perfect flair to this exquisitely curated space.
David Koma's sculptural designs available at Atelier 55
Bora Aksu textile and fiber details
Boa Studio's organic cotton tops available at Atelier 55
Designers Seray and Sena of BOA Studio taking a late afternoon break
at Atelier 55's in-store cafe
Of course, one of the most satisfying things to do in Istanbul is to stroll for hours in order to soak up the local colors, textures, and sounds of this incredibly dynamic and rapidly growing city. I spent a whole day simply letting my eyes wander over the surfaces, patterns, and textures of objects along my pathway.
It is so easy to have a love affair with a place that is not afraid to stand apart from the norm while also serving as a gateway to East/West customs, traditions, and aesthetic phenomena.
My next trip to Turkey will hopefully include a visit the the Eastern part of the country as well as a visit with Catherine Bayar of BazaarBayar.
*all polaroid shots and some interior boutique photos by Abigail Doan