Posted by Fashion Junior at Large (back from Istanbul)

Bora Aksu for Armaggan
 Bora Aksu is, by today's standards, a fashion designer with a difference. He is described as having a demi-couture aesthetic which he faithfully maintains, ensuring each project he participates in will not compromise these ideals. He is also very shy and could barely look at the applauding audience as he took his bow after the catwalk show launching his new collaboration with luxury Turkish store Armaggan on Thursday night.
The Armaggan Nuruosmaniye store
Bora (image kindly provided by David from the BFC after Fashion Junior's went AWOL)
Post-show, Bora and his delightful Mauritian wife, Fella, took time to chat to us UK journos who were completely oblivious to the apparent buzz of Turkish celebrity around us at the glitzy drinks event. There were no airs and graces; Bora and Fella both remembered to jibe me several times for my delay arriving in Istanbul (for reasons which will only bore you). Fella also told me how she and Bora were friends for six years before they finally got together and then married ten years ago. Fella now manages the business side of Bora Aksu. I'm sure they won't mind me saying that although Bora is a show to see at LFW, he doesn't make front-page news. Having grown up in Turkey (before moving to London to study at Central Saint Martins), he is their prize design export and everyone wants to know what Bora is doing meaning that his show pictures will grace the front of all the papers!

Bora Aksu's collection employed the expertise which Armaggan's laboratory is famed for, so the pieces are made using traditional embroidery and weaving techniques, along with the purest silks and wools.
The collaboration with Armaggan is not Bora's first; he also works with Anthropologie in America. This is no H and M style, mass market pair-up though. Only two pieces of each design from the 40 piece collection will be made, making it even more exclusive that Bora's main line. In my post from Istanbul the other day, I alluded to the mix of old and new which is a central part of Armaggan's philosophy. But there is a lot more to it than that; this is not a place to search out a bargain. Every item is so lovingly designed and crafted, usually in the store's own laboratory, that prices rarely go below a few hundred dollars. One yellow sapphire ring on display was $33,000. There are several floors where furniture, art, jewellery and handicraft are displayed as if in a galllery- for most browsers that's what it is I suppose. On a tour of the store before the Bora Aksu unveiling, we were shown the traditional Turkish intricate silk crochet-like pieces which are sold as necklaces or appliqued onto dresses, scarves and handkerchiefs.

It was quite baffling to imagine that this is all done completely by hand and one mistake means starting all over again. Cherie Blair has visited the store several times and among her purchases were three of these dresses, I can't think who for but then perhaps she is of the school of thought that that they are far too precious to actually wear!

In Bora's collection, it was clear to see that he had worked closely with Armaggan (he's been commuting back and forth every week between London and Istanbul for months) to maintain these traditional techniques while also blending in strong military- like shapes through the coats and capes which remind me of an Ottoman warrior. But there was also the easy, jazz age allusion of the loose, drop waist dresses which gave the collection its essential modernity. Should you be in Istanbul, Armaggan would make a fascinating stop-off and after December 15th you will be able to see Bora Aksu's collection for yourself. Thank you Bora, Fella, Armaggan and the delightful Antony for a wonderful trip to Istanbul.
From left to right: Fashion Junior a.k.a Bethan Holt, Jayne from WGSN,  Liz from the Daily Mail, David from the BFC and Lucy from Red.
All images, unless otherwise indicated, by Fashion Junior at Large.


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