Sourcing the best places for instant elegance and refined style.
Treasure troves of sartorial delight can be found all around Istanbul, whether it’s a smart three-piece suit that has just a touch of whimsy, a classic leather jacket, or custom-made shoes that fit you—and your personality—perfectly. We scour the city in search of the bespoke, the best from local designers, and multi-label stores that stock both international and local brands.
We begin our hunt with the bespoke designers who can curate a wardrobe that is perfect for you and your style. Olga Berluti, while not a local designer, has stores around the world, including in Istanbul. They pride themselves on personalisation, and can custom-make any special orders such as a table soccer set, and of course, create a bespoke pair of shoes and a tailor-made suit. The shoes can be tweaked to suit your personality and preference, such as including a flowered design, initials or drawings. The final touch is the patina, which might be a very dark “blue-brown” or a brick red, which was worn by Yves Saint Laurent and Jacques Lacan respectively. Prices for a pair of bespoke shoes start from US$6,225. Berluti.com
For bespoke suits, one of the leading clothiers in Istanbul is Taji, founded by Tacettin Seker. Customisation options include fabrics, personal pattern, ideal fit, collars, cuffs, buttons to make the suit one-of-a-kind, and perfectly suited to your lifestyle. An additional service they offer is to assist you with your packing, ensuring that every single item matches well with others, to ensure you look elegant all the time. They also offer maintenance, renewal and cleaning services. Taji.com
Curate an entire wardrobe to your personal style at Civan, where the range includes the usual shirts, trousers etc., but also includes creative accessories in place of the bow and necktie such as a handmade crochet necktie. Their style is slightly more irreverent, and your choices for a bespoke suit might include vintage fabrics or designs with a touch of humour. Items from their past and present collections can be made-to-measure and customised (with initials, if you’d like) to your preferences. Civanistanbul.com
Acquire your perfect scent at Parfum Tasarim Atölyesi, which is the main distributor of renowned perfumery brands in Turkey. It features a collection of world-renowned perfume brands like Miller Harris, Maison Francis Kurkdija, Initio, Histoires de Parfums and Acqua di Parma. Arrange for a private shopping experience, much like the celebrities who visit the store in Nisantasi would. Parfumtasarim.com
The last Greek milliner in Istanbul, Madame Katia at Passage Hazzopulo in Beyoğlu has designed hats for Turkey’s famous figures. She handles all the orders singlehandedly. When matching the hat to the dress, she likes to see the dress beforehand so she can advise on the appropriate material and style for the accompanying hat.
Inspired by the local ikat fabrics that she sourced from the bazaars around Istanbul, designer Günes Mutlu has created a collection of bags handmade in the city, and designed to make life easier for the user. Her Mehry Mu designs have been worn by Olivia Palermo and Princess Beatrice, and include a wide range of options, from beach basket bags to the luxurious Jung bag. The latter is made with black goatskin suede and, surprisingly, rattan, with satin fabric and gold hardware. Mehrymu.com
One of the most prominent fashion designers is Dilek Hanif, who launched her brand under the same name in 2011. Highlights of her illustrious career include being awarded the Woman Fashion Designer of the Year in 2003, and becoming the first Turkish fashion designer to present a collection at the Paris Haute Couture Week. Celebrity fans include Iggy Azalea and Miranda Kerr. One of the standout pieces from her latest collection is the floor length sleeveless dress in printed organza (about US$1,994). Dilekhanif.com
Arzu Kaprol, founder of her eponymous brand, studied fashion design and won the Beymen Academia New Talents Competition in 1996. Her work is now regularly featured in fashion magazines and her designs have been worn by Milla Jovovich, Gisele Bundchen and Meg Ryan. She takes classic staples and injects her own twist, such as a triangular cutout on the back of her Boyfriend jacket (about US$221), or with an intricate laser cut design on the Laser Cut Leather Jacket (about US$467) that transforms the piece into a work of art and a statement piece. Arzukaprol.com
From being the first woman to have a jewellery shop in the Grand Bazaar, Tina Christa Setzer of Tina Jewellery now runs the business with her daughter. They currently have three shops in Turkey as well as a showcase in the Ciragan Palace Kempinski. The collections feature unique designs with a variety of stones, including opals, sapphires and rubies and there are qualified gemologists onsite with multilingual experts. Evelyn Lauder, Jeanne Moreau and Tipper Gore have all shopped here. Tinajewellery.com
Coming from a family with three generations of rug making experience, Memet Gureli started his own company in 1989 after recognising the contemporary trends in home furnishings. The Dhoku brand now has seven product lines and four stores in the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul and prides itself on having fair trade practices as well as sustaining the centuries-old culture of rug making. Their Dhoku collection features 100 percent organic handspun wool and modern designs that would fit well with any modern interior, while others still retain their traditional heritage. Dhoku.com
Another family brand is Koç Leather & Fur, which has been in the business—and the Grand Bazaar—since 1968, and features leather, fur and lambskin outerwear across three floors. Running the place now is Ilyas Koç, the cousin of Sait Koç, and he does limited production runs for Cavali and other design houses. Its designs are reputed to be a favourite with several celebrities. Kocderi.com
If your shopping tastes incline more towards international brands like Louis Vuitton, Tiffany & Co and Swarovski, the main places to flock to are Instinye Park, Zorlu Center and Kanyon. Other shops with collections from local designers include Atelier 55, Midnight Express, Vakko and the Beymen department store.
Atelier 55 in Galata features a mix of designers, from international and local names. The collection features hand-picked bags, shoes, furniture, home textiles and sculptures. One of the more eye-catching pieces is the Sylvia Toledano Clutch (about US$853) or the Laura Apsit Livens Bone Blue Blue Mesh hat (about US$260). Atelier-55.com
Midnight Express began as a store showcasing Turkish designers and designers around the region, and has now grown to include jewellery, fashion and home accessories. Brands now include Zadig & Voltaire and Silvia Frumanovich. Renowned fashion designer Asli Polat has also launched a collection exclusively for Midnight Express, which runs the gamut from basic t-shirts to glamorous evening gowns. Midnightexpress.com.tr
Starting as a small millinery shop, Vakko has now blossomed into one of the most prominent Turkish brands that are associated with luxury, according to a survey by DORinsight. Besides fashion, the brand has also diversified into weddings, home accessories, tea, and pastries, with branches all over Turkey, with the largest a five-floor flagship department store in Nisantasi. The flagship also carries international brands like Alexander Wang, Emporio Armani and Zac Posen. Gisele Bündchen is the brand ambassador. Vakko.com
With two centuries of family experience in textiles, Beymen has several flagship stores around Istanbul. The largest fashion store sits in Zorlu Center, and its Morini restaurant is run by a Michelin-starred chef. Beymen is also the preferred partner for most global brands, so you’ll have a higher chance of finding a specific luxury brand at their stores. Beymen also offers unparalleled service, such as free lifetime alterations for their products, gifting services, home and workplace delivery, private shopping and also unique customer experiences such as meeting esteemed designers and attending fashion weeks. Beymen.com ◼
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© This article was first published in June-July 2018 edition of World Travel Magazine.