Glad rags

By Şule Bilgin | November 19, 2011

"Venice and Istanbul: A Glorious Woven Relationship. Eight Hundred Years of Interplay in Textiles. Topkapı Palace Museum Privy StableSultanahmet MeydanıSultanahmetİstanbul November 25, 2011- January 8, 2012 From Friday the Topkapı Palace will welcome a sumptuous exhibition on Sultans’ kaftans and Ottoman-style weavings, mostly ‘Made in Venice’. Organized by the Italian Cultural Institute of Istanbul and the Italian Embassy, the objective of the exhibition is to represent the common textile culture which had been created and re-created for eight hundred years between the Ottoman Empire and The Old Republic of Venice.

The exhibition is divided into two parts: the first part holds examples of textiles from the ‘Bevilacqua’ collection - one of the oldest weaving companies in Venice, founded in 1700 and famous for its elegant fabrics. This archive is particularly rich in velvet, brocade and damask examples made for the Ottoman Court. The exhibition's second part presents kaftans which are already present in Topkapi Museum’s permanent collection. Given that only two of the 30 silk-velvet kaftans carefully preserved within this collection are made of Ottoman (Bursa) velvet and almost all the rest came from ‘La Serenissima,’ it is easy to grasp the Palace’s appreciation for Italian fabrics. Even if some might claim that the Sultans’ preference for Italian silk-velvet over Turkish was out of vanity, the curators of the exhibition, Gherardo Degli Azzoni Avogadro Malvasia and Sibel Arca explain this inclination with the jovial red colours, gold leaves and fine patterns that are found in Venetian velvet. The exhibition is surely a must-see for those who are keen to witness the glorious dressing style of Ottoman nobility. One little piece of advice: don’t try to go for shopping after the exhibition, as even the most famous and prestigious fashion collections may seem pale and worthless in comparison.  

Current Events