Today I want to talk about a collection I made in 2011 while living in Istanbul and working as a Creative Draping, Construction and Fashion Design Instructor at Istanbul Moda Academy (IMA).
During that time, I was reading about the Zoroastrianism religion and its relation with Dualism aspects of good and evil, which conceptually comes down to right and wrong, black and white, the opposites-attraction and the necessity of each one in order to survive or to have meaning.
This concept started with one of the oldest religions, and shaped all of our ethical, moral behaviors and laws. Having this in mind, I wanted to make a collection that related to this concept.
I also wanted to make clothes that looked and felt pretty for women to wear, instead of going totally toward conceptual artistic work.
So I made a sketch for inspiration, and I started to drape shapes, silhouettes, pieces and take photos and notes.
The idea was, opposite styles, ideas, such as soft vs edgy, feminine vs masculine, dark and light, opaque vs see-through, and incorporation of these opposites into one.
So after many draping sessions & developing shapes and silhouettes, I came up with these designs.
Here are some pictures during developing the silhouettes and turning them into dresses:
I initially draped the looks with soft muslin & voile.
Later after editing and finalizing the looks, I chose their fabrics. I used a variety of different fabrics here since I wasn’t planning on reproducing them on a big scale. It was OK for me to only shop for a few yards at the time.
I used silk organza, tulle, silk crepe, silk rib knit, silk ribbed woven, silk charmeuse, lightweight silk chiffon, silk tulle and lightweight silk shantung.
Most of the looks had lined constructed dress underneath of attached side-back skirts.
After draping, it took me about 3 weeks to hand sew and finish the dresses, with the help of my intern-assistant who was also my student at the Academy.
I finished the dresses, asked one of my photographer friends to help me with photos and started searching for a model. I ultimately wanted two models, one black and a white girl to fit the dresses for photos. But being in Istanbul, it was challenging and I would have to request the model agencies to bring a black model for the photo shoot, which would have been pretty expensive.
I asked one of my students studying fashion who was only 19 years old to model for me.
(Of course I paid for both, photographer and model, even though they were my friend and student).
Here are the final photos:
Few years later, in 2014 while I was following couture shows in Paris, I came across Jean Paul Gaultier’s collection. He is one of the most famous french couture designers that I know.
I was kind of surprised with mixed emotions, and tried to make sense if what I saw was only a coincidence or a bad joke.
His collection in 2014 looked very similar in silhouette and shape to my 2011 collection.
Of course I did not have a huge couture house full of couturier sewing masters working for me! So I was short on sophistication next to his show and dresses. But still it reminded me what happened to many many other designers before, and it will happen again and again.
By the way, his collection theme was Bipolar!! 🙂
Please correct me, if you think I am exaggerating this! 🙂