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A Passion for Fashion

  • Images courtesy Istanbul Modern

The fashion label Dice Kayek (pronounced Dee-cha Kai-yek) is a linguistic invention. ‘It’s an alias,’ the designer Ece Ege explains at her Paris studio, ‘one associated with femininity and modernism, individuality and a post-romantic spirit.’ The company was established in 1992 by Ece and her sister, Ayşe, and now represents the truly modern face of international Turkish design.

In 2010 the label was involved in a stunning exhibition at Istanbul Modern: a sartorial homage to the city entitled Istanbul Contrast. The show represented the various delights of the city with 26 dresses and two jackets – some from the Dice Kayek Gold Label couture collection, and others made for the exhibition. In each case the fabric was sculpted and carved into innovative forms. This cerise cocktail dress (main picture) was inspired, she says, by an upside-down tulip, while the pleated jacket of white silk gaberdine is reminiscent of a bird’s wing. Dice Kayek’s designs are more akin to intricate origami or complex modern buildings than fashion – indeed Ece is apt to make direct comparisons between dressmaking and architecture. ‘The dress is like a building,’ she says. ‘You put it on and you are all dressed up – all you need is shoes.’ Like an architect, she has a deep appreciation of the material she works with. She says that the white organdie she used to create a dress with pagoda pleating (pictured on the cover) is ‘both soft and rigid’, making it ideal for ‘sculpting’ into complex folds and pleats. The cocktail dress also has pagoda-pleated sleeves. This cutting-edge designer says it was a moment of great pride when one of her favourite architects, Zaha Hadid, attended the exhibition: ‘I was thrilled!’ for more deatils

Dice Kayek has won first prize at the V&A Jameel Prize 3, 2013

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