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Contents selvedge.org


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An about turn is upon us: the boho look has had its day and according to those in the know the new season will see us all stalking about in high waisted pencil skirts, impeccably tailored jackets, crisp shirts and bunion-forming, knee-wrecking heels. Of course we were expecting this. Anyone who has even the shallowest knowledge of fashion cycles anticipates the redundancy of trend-led wardrobe additions before the credit card bill has hit the paper-recycling bin.

The trouble with trends is that sometimes the buying public becomes over excited by them and takes them on board collectively as a 'good idea'. A momentary lapse of taste by a top end designer from a career usually devoted to elegance and innovation can, after a night out at a piano bar with a Carmen Miranda drag act, cause a significant number of us to become intent upon consuming a temporary fantasy made available to us by a high street that is very quick on the uptake. For example, the flounced gypsy look that has been ubiquitous this summer isn't difficult to pull off in terms of production. The relatively unstructured nature of the garments that comprise this 'look' can accommodate cheaper fabrics and less than perfect quality construction.

A large volume of the garments produced for the high street this summer will have been manufactured overseas where labour costs are a fraction of those in the U.K., making available a trend that is democratic because it is affordable. However, high fashion has never really been about democracy. Since sumptuary laws legislated who could wear what, we have been differentiating our status through dress, and fashion will find a way of revealing who can and cannot afford to be ahead of the pack.

The exact tailoring of the new season cannot allow for slipshod fabrication and poor quality materials. This look is not about knowingly throwing together a couple of cheap items with key accessories: rather it is about displaying exquisite fabrics, precision cutting and keenly observed details. Marc Jacobs at Louis Vuitton delivered such a collection for autumn/winter 05. At first view the collection might seem austere, almost sombre, and strictly no fun, but don't be fooled – this is down to some clever visual layering that disrupts the expectations one might have of dense, inky palettes and tailored forms.

Viewing these garments is like walking into a darkened room: at first it is only black and then gradually shapes appear; as the eyes adjust, details become visible, subtle lustres begin to gleam and then eventually there is a whole rich, three dimensional vision. The silhouette at Louis Vuitton was positive and defined. Ballooned and batwing sleeves cleave to sculpted waists, cocktail dresses and coats curtsey graciously in homage to the heyday of Cristobel Balenciaga, and memories of Hitchcock's heroines, straight backed in their seaming, portray a powerful femininity.

In the West black is, of course, the colour of mourning and that inevitable association has been dealt with lightly. Subtle references to second stage mourning dress appear in the jet jewellery and rich trim-

mings. The fabric combinations, a tweed skirt with an organza veil or silk dress with an embroidered underskirt offer an abundance of texture, replace the clashing pattern and colour of past seasons but sacrifice none of the interest and variety. Ruched and gathered, the qualities of the cloth are utilised to dramatic effect: the dull sheen of thick velvet contrasts with slippery whispers of silk and satin.

Despite some heavy referencing of the 1950s, 60s and earlier periods, Jacobs does not appear to be suffering from nostalgia. He has acknowledged the sophistication of consumers and presented them with refined pieces that respect their intelligence. He knows that his clients and those who take an interest in his clothes can place his influences historically, socially and culturally.

Jacobs has performed the perfect seduction: he has combined luscious velvets, rich wools, accented seams and surface details with supreme tailoring. The clothes are expressions of artistry that declare the wearer’s control, intelligence and cultural as well as economic capital. It seems that we are heading for a perfectly tailored and besuited winter season: it’s time to grow up and be a bit serious, for the days of enforced carefree frolicking in mass produced dressing up clothes are over. ••• Nicola Donovan s e l v e d g e . o r g

INDULGE textiles to buy, collect or simply admire. 17 Embroidering the truth Gold glimmers against a background of black. 20 The Alchemist Turkish designer Gonul Paksoy blends elements of old and new. 27 Art school ties Gorgeous ties fit for the Head Boy. 81 Quintessence Design guru Terence Conran offers his personal view on textiles.


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Science or art: from the earliest days of our education we are pressed to decide to which faction we belong. To find our place we must discover if we possess the calm rational sense and detached curiosity of the scientist or the unbridled creativity and untamed temperament of the artist. Although we accept the existence of the occasional renaissance man with a foot in each camp, the majority of us show just one face to society and become through practice and intent one type or the other. In this sense and many others Gonul Paksoy is exceptional. There are not many designers who have published academic papers on ‘the separation of Tar into its components and its definition’: still fewer hold a PhD with a doctoral thesis on root dye chemistry. Designer, collector and renowned chef, Gonul absorbs elements of old and new, east and west in an astonishingly creative compound. Transformation and the desire to create perfection from materials both base and beautiful is at the root of her work.

How a chemist came to create some of Turkey’s finest clothes and jewelley, publish books on her cooking methods, and stage exhibitions of dolls is perhaps more logical than it appears. Gonul Paksoy was born into a family with distinguished history. Her great-grandfather was Governor of the then Ottoman province of Mossul and one of the most prominent mathematicians and astronomers of his time. Her parents cultivated her appreciation of food, dress, architecture and history. They were a family with a “refined taste, who valued and enjoyed life” but the death of her father when Gonul was just 11 dramatically altered her situation. In her own words, ‘confusion reigned’ and she was entered into a boarding school soon after. Here they no longer saw her as a child and Gonul grew up quickly: “Your toys have been taken away from you. You can’t make ragdolls anymore. You can’t produce anything.” The re-emergence of a range of intriguing ragdolls as part of the Gonul Paksoy current collections is a reaction to her experiences at school, “One of the things I wanted to convey was the need to reflect upon the education system,” she explained.



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a n e c d o t e

INDUSTRY from craft to commerce. 56 Military might Hand and Lock lead the field in beautifully crafted embroidery and embellishment. 54 Circle in the sand The nomadic style and bold patterns of Ocelot clothing.

ANECDOTE textiles that touch our lives. 28 Uniformly appealing From soldier boys to nurses, what makes these outfits so attractive? 46 Sweet Charity Used to brand and segregate, orphan uniforms were a necessary evil.

CONCEPT textiles in fine art. 48 Playtime Fun and the freedom to explore in the striking scuptural works of Maria Blaisse. 34 Dress to impress Artists using the language of fashion and clothing to make a statement. 74 Forest tree 21:21 Reiko Sudo at the Surrey Institute.

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The Mov


What is it about uniforms that turns people on? Exactly what is it that can be so attractive about an R.A.F. officer in full kit, or a medical consultant in a white coat? And what about those firemen! What precisely, in fact, is a uniform?

The term describes a variety of distinctive outfits designed to identify individuals as members of a particular group. It also denotes a measure of conformity. Within these identified groups, hierarchies are signalled through differences in the group uniform, for example stripes on a sergeant’s sleeve. Does the power and authority implied in the uniform of the sergeant imbue the wearer with an eroticism that is dependent upon the signifying qualities of his or her clothing? If this is so, do the ‘lower orders’ who wear the uniform of a collective enjoy the same eroticised perceptions, but to a lesser extent? Maybe it doesn’t make any difference. Perhaps it is just the sight of a well turned out figure in a matching set of clothes that does the trick, whatever their position in a structure of incremental authority such as the British Army.

Prior to World War 1 most European military uniforms were designed for spectacle and the Theatre of War. Fighting men needed to look physically impressive and intimidating so physical features were emphasised. In order for the men to appear taller towering hats were worn, while boots and close cut breeches lengthened the leg and described muscularity. Napoleonic uniforms placed great emphasis on masculinity and assured elegance: the uniform comprised polished black knee length boots, a short, tailored jacket that exaggerated the width of the shoulders, and a pair of skintight buff coloured doeskin breeches, which quite frankly suggested buck nakedness. Jackets were heavily decorated with braids and buttons but attention would inevitably have focussed on the crotch, the sartorial amplification of the male genitals serving to distract advancing enemies and friends alike. Unsurprisingly these men in uniform were considered rather dashing, and an enduring trend for military inspired fashion for both men and women was spawned.

The industrialised modern warfare of World War 1 demanded a new breed of uniform; displays of decorated masculine physicality were not terribly effective when directed at a 

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ATTIRE critical reporting of fashion trends. 12 No excess baggage The exquisite style and refined tailoring of Louis Vuitton. 40 Dedicated follower of fashion Modern day dandies are demanding their share of the beautiful things. 44 Technicolour dream cloth Bernat Klein’s vibrant textiles.


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Opulence and restraint rise and fall like opposing planets in the fashion constellation but individuals like Victoria Bain always follow their own star. When it comes to luxury and refinement for the home, Victoria has been offering just that for over five years.

Victoria supplies shops from Sloane Square to Midtown Manhattan with her opulent accessories and this year has.launched a new collection of embellished damasks in a collaborative project. Fabrics from the Tassinari and Lelievre ranges such as Ventadour, Fleurigny and Grugny have been lovingly embroidered in ‘Zardozi’ gold thread work, ‘Dubka’, french knots, and chain stitch. The result is a beautifully crafted collection, in colour palettes of rich chocolate brown, rust, azur, and ivory. Victoria Bain is clearly pleased to be able to offer her clients something new, and in fact feedback from clients showed there was a demand in the interiors market for all over embellished lengths .“The embellished lengths of fabric sold on the high street are of extremely poor quality and I felt the need to fill that gap”, she explains.

Victoria’s own flat, a modest one bedroom affair in a Victorian terrace in west London, is as gorgeous as her collections. “You don’t have to sacrifice style just because space is limited,” she says. The living room has rich lilac walls and a mellow flaxen coloured floor covering. At the windows generously draped velvet curtains hang as if on loan from the stage of La Scala. The velvet glints gold in one direction and damson in the other, while the leading edges are finished with a richly embroidered border that sinks under the lightest of touches. 


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Turkish delight


Overwhelming Istanbul: a place of chaotic but charismatic charm. It’s certainly a hot spot for many younger Europeans, with a flourishing music and art scene: but for a textile lover in this vibrant city life is too short for such diversions. Tourist sightseeing is off the agenda, for textiles alone provide a long and complex trail to follow. A textile tour of Turkey or even just one city within Turkey covers the handmade to factory-produced, and if you are fortunate uncovers the characters that populate this varied industry – traditional crafts people, designers, artists, students and shop owners.

If you wish to compile a list of must see places, the shop of an multi-talented woman Gönül Paksoy in Tesvikiye – an Istanbul shopping area – would rank highly. Countering all prejudices about voluptuous Turkish creations she fashions in a restrained manner, firmly rooted in old traditions but with a new and fresh eye on everything, from elegant dresses to shoes, jewellery, interior accessories and even amusing dolls.

Istanbul has no central shopping street comparable to Bond Street or Madison Avenue but another area to visit is the Nisantasi quarter. Here you’ll find the finest fashion Istanbul has to offer with designers such as Bilge Mestçi at Artisan, Arzu Kaprol and Hakan Yıldırım offering couture creations and ready to wear pieces. Each has a distinctive area of expertise Mestçi is a master manipulator of silk, Kaprol has a patented pleating method and Yıldırım explores the cutting and folding of cloth with consumate skill.

Another breathtaking experience is the Grand Bazaar, a covered labyrinth of streets named after craft professions, that even today is organised in sections relating to the professions and goods on sale. There are streets full of jewellers selling old amber, ethnic jewellery and Turkmen costumes and accessories; other streets display traditional textiles from all corners of the country, including over-twisted natural cotton with a crepe look, fine mohair shawls shining like glazed paper, hand woven stripes in red, black, blue and white and an infinite variety of silks. Tourists are a rare sight in these alleys and side streets, said one owner: but buyers sent by Armani, Ralph Lauren and other designers make a regular appearance. Best of all, prices are very reasonable. It’s a paradise for lovers of textiles, although tricky to find without a knowledgeable guide –

mention the address of Murat Hashas and hopefully you will arrive at the right place.

As far as museums are concerned, you must see the Topkapi Palace, where textiles together with jewellery are on show in the Treasury. Apart from the better-known Ottoman silks, the very modern looking talismanic shirts with intriguing calligraphic writings on polished cotton, and with symbols and emblems to protect the wearer against sickness and other evils are particularly interesting. Curator Dr. Hülya Tezcan is an expert on this little known subject.

The Rug and Kilim Department of the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Art is another place where a guide or expert would be most welcome. The tribal rugs are on show in the lower part of the Islamic Museum are sympathetically displayed. However, the current state of the Vakiflar Museum – which is often not accessible and whose collection appears to suffer from humidity and lack of care – leaves much to be desired.

A third museum with textile holdings is the Sadberk-Hanim Museum housed in two wooden buildings on the Bosphorus in the direction of the Black Sea. A visit makes a nice boat trip. Unlike most Turkish museums, this is a private institution founded by the industrialist family Koç in 1980, and housed in their former summerhouse. The young curator Lale Görünür is knowledgeable and enthusiastic about Turkish embroidery. The collection of Ms Sadberk Hanim is made up of women’s costumes, silk fabrics and embroidery since the Ottoman period, 15th to 20th century, together with further clothing and interior textiles.

The charm of the Turkish rug dealers has passed from mere reputation to legend. One of the most celebrated could be Mehmet Çetinkaya in his three-storey gallery near the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Art, selling carpets, kilims and textiles from Central Asia, Anatolia and the Caucasus. Educated in fine art in Belgium, his love for textiles made him a gallerist. His prices are beyond the purse of most but his gallery has open exhibitions and welcomes visitors.

Beyond the confines of Istanbul lies the old Ottoman capital Bursa, the city of silk. Here the Silk Bazaar is the place for shopping: in the old Ottoman Kervansaray Emir Han with a romantic fountain in an inner garden are all the silk

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COHABIT stunning interiors beautifully photographed. 60 Victoriana Using her enviable skills Victoria Bain has decorated her small but perfectly formed apartment.

GLOBAL travel destinations and ethnographic textiles. 64 Turkish delights Whet your appetite with a taste of Istanbul before the ETN conference. 68 Twist and turn The turban is an eloquent piece of apparel expressing rank, status and style.

INFORM the latest news.

04 bias / contributors 05 correspond / enquire 07 news trends and essential ideas 15 miscellany Autumn gold 78 read Techno Textiles 2 82 view Extreme Textiles

Abstract Garments After a Fashion Folk Archive Viaux Gallery Sophie Roet Sue Lawty 87 international listings 93 coming next The Hibernation Issue. Snuggle down for a White

Christmas: we look at fur, feathers and beautiful new fabrics. 95 stockists 96 subscription offers A practical Sukie notebook for every new subscriber and a pretty vintage badge for renewals. Tickets to 100% Design, Chelsea Craft Fair, Affordable Art Fair.


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