When in Istanbul, a tour of the local fashion houses is a must for exploring Turkey’s cultural heritage. Two of my favorite are Armaggan and Vakko. Armaggan has two locations, one in the high-end shopping district of Nisantasi, and a second on Nuruosmaniye Avenue, near the Grand Bazaar. The multi-level store sells items as varied as Turkish crafts, towels and linens, leather goods, high-end jewelry, natural dye textiles, carpets and ladies clothing.
The stunning jacket shown above is a show stopper. Silk and gold thread brocade, jacquard woven, made with all-natural materials, it costs approximately $22,000. This design is modeled after a 16th century Ottoman kemha (brocade) in the collection of the Topkapi Palace Museum.
| This armchair is also covered in a silk and gold thread brocade. Part of Armaggan’s Naturally Dyed Textiles Collections, the hand-stitching techniques use centuries-old Anatolian designs.
I would love one of these bird houses for the new house we are building, but at this point I was too afraid to ask the price.
For the Ottoman dinner party I plan on hosting one day…
This vertical garden at the Nuruosmaniye location is three stories tall and reminiscent of one of my favorite restaurants, Joel Robuchon in Las Vegas. You can sit here and enjoy a Turkish coffee while pondering the purchase of one of the lovely brocade jackets.
Also at the Nuruosmaniye location, Nar Lokanta is a restaurant located on the top floor and showcases the best of Turkey in its cuisine, using only seasonal and natural ingredients. We started with a selection of cold mezes (appetizers), such as mung bean salad, stuffed squash blossom, artichoke heart with broad beans marinated in olive oil, lemon juice and sour pomegranate juice, and marinated eggplant (aubergine). The main course included lamb baked in a tandoor atop a bed of eggplant puree (also known as Sultan’s Delight). The dessert buffet, seen at the right, offers a wide range of fresh pastries, puddings and baklava.
I leave you with one more photo of the incredible museum quality textiles. After all the food I had just eaten for lunch, a kaftan would be appropriate for my ever expanding waistline. Hasta pronto.