>> I'm not ENTIRELY sure why when this original retrospective of Hussein Chalayan's work from 1994-2009 at London's Design Museum was never blogged about here.  I'm scratching my head even more seeing as the exhibition was also media-partnered by Dazed & Confused, where I was working at the time.  Was I somehow put off by the mountains of positive praise the exhibition got and thus didn't think me and my blog chirping in was going to add anything useful or insightful?

As I ponder what happened to my responsible posting antics during the period of January and May 2009, I'm instead going to be INCREDIBLY belated by posting these pics that I took at the Istanbul Modern where the exhibition is currently touring and has also been updated with additions of some of his 2010 collections.  I guess I still have nothing interesting to say about the exhibition in 2010 as my muted self in 2009, other than to echo what everyone else has said.  What I will say though is that given the bigger space of the Istanbul Modern, Donna Loveday's curation of the exhibition seems even more effective, especially when it comes to the video projections of Chalayan's various film projects that he has accumulated throughout the years.  The choice of mannequins that have an almost-eerie expression and liveliness to their faces all bring the extraordinary clothes to life as opposed to the alternative of the normal headless dummies that could have made Chalayan's creations look cold and sterile.  And oh dear… here we go… review mode… this is of course NOT new for those that did make it to the Design Museum but somehow, reliving it the second time in the hustle of Istanbul, a ground closer to Chalyan's Turkish-Cypriot roots, enhanced the overall impact of the exhibition.  Plus, this is blogpost atonement here.

Ah I just remembered…. I had a duff SD card that deleted my pics of the exhibition… DOUBLE DOH!

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Ambimorphous A/W 02

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Airmail Dress 1999

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Panoramic A/W 1998

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Manifest Destiny S/S 03

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Place to Passage 2003

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After Words A/W 2000

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Kinship Journeys A/W 03

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Temporal Meditations S/S 04

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Airborne A/W 07

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>> I seem to think that all posts these days need to be chunky heffer things with oodles of pics which means I've ignored the prevalent nature of blog reading which is that it's normally fast, bite-sized and hurried.  The madness is more maddening when I've been travelling like a lunatic recently (off to New York tomorrow) which means I should be doing more itty bitty posts to keep the flow going.  I therefore give you these itty bitty but by no means weak or flimsy in strength box bags by Sophie Hulme which have just dropped into the Supersweet online store.  Actually I'm glad they've picked up a lot of Hulme's A/W 10-11 accessories which is all screws, brass plating with an emphasis on whistles and good quality leather work.  Yes, the bag we're all SUPPOSED to be toting has gone all square, minimal and sensible but I still think there's a balance to be struck between neat and interesting which these box bags hit perfectly.  Judging by the size, I'm also thinking it can hold the blackberry, Oyster, debit card, lip balm and small digi cam all with ease ease.  The Nikon will just have to be slung over in a multi-shoulder-strapped combination….

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>> On my hopefully pending trip to Tokyo, I'm making it a self-assigned journalistic task to try and find out why is it that so many of the Japanese labels (including the 'big' ones that I know of, exempting the smaller ones that I'm sure would also blow my mind…) hardly make it over to Europe-bound stockists… or more specifically and selfishly London.  It's a connecting question to why certain brands have different Japan/Europe/USA regional stock variations.  Perhaps I'll get a big fat inconclusive in-need-of-translation mess but seeing as I have thus far loved the process of commissioning myself (when you think of bloggers in that way, I suddenly see "Saddo" branded across my forehead…), it's still an issue I'd love to get my investigative teeth stuck into.

In the meantime though, I'm consoling myself with the beginning inklings of e-stores such as Koshka.  Based in Berlin, they aspire to "an aesthetic that encompasses both the calm and pure beauty of Japanese pottery and the jittering neon of contemporary Asian metropolis."  Err… which perhaps is an English statment lost in translation as I'm not sure if Japanese fashion should even be let loose near those seemingly naive cliches.  Still, the intentions are clear as they are now stocking Tsumori Chisato which is a good enough reason for me to give it a thumbs up seeing as Chisato UK-available stockists are literally a handful.  Farfetch have a few pieces and now Koshka adds more to that pool…

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Of course life would be a happier one with plait/rope suspender cloud wooley tights… I know tights aren't meant to be trews but perhaps an exception needs to be made when clouds and plaits and 100% opaqueness are involved…

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Sticking to the hoisery category, Koshka also stock Ayame socks, made in the old city of Nara where Japanese artisan techniques and fabrications are applied to designs that are anything but 'old'… the sock drawer refuses to be shrunk and is actually the one category of wardrobe which I didn't reduce in my big clear out…

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Through Koshka, I've also learnt that Hall Ohara a design duo I knew from their London-Tokyo love story, have renamed their label as In Process.

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Shida Tatsuya's website is pretty scant with information or images but all I need to know is that I'm willing to restrict arm movement for this cracked metallic effect woolen mishapen cape that is THE chunky cocoon to fight of all the other chunky cocoons that are out in force for this winter…

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Like I said in the Zeynep Tosun post, Istanbul was exactly the cacophony that I had hoped for but fashion-wise, I think it requires a bit of digging to know exaclty what it's all about.  I must have spent about five minutes trying to memorise street names and designer names (somehow Turkish pronounciations just did not computate properly in my head…) so perhaps five days of heated sightseeing was not the best way of immersing oneself into the scene.  Next time, I'll seek out some insiders to guide me…

So from my trip to Istanbul, I thought I'd round up everything through my avid yet amateurish picture snapping.  It's all probably going to come off looking like a Istanbul Tourist Board slideshow (except taken by a rubbish photographer…) but I promise if you read all the relevant captions, I do have something more to say other than "Pretty rings in Grand Bazaar" or "Lovely view of the Bosphorus."  I've still got a few things to delve deeper into from this whirlwind trip but like I said, a second and smarter visit has got to be on the agenda…

Right, so I'm ashamed to say we spent a lot of time on a coach, viewing things from air-conditioned comfort and being stuck in an awful amount of traffic (Istanbul's stumbling block…) but I promise I did get off my arse to do some walking around even if I did have to stop along the way to escape the scorching heat…

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There was a good lot of UK press/buyers over there… including Erin Mullaney from Browns, Chloe Kerman from Tank magazine, Max Pearmain from Pop magazne and Zoe Maughan from AnOther magazine… cue school trip photo with cheesy grins.  Much thanks to our tour guide Serkan for taking this one.  He also gets line of the week as he was describing the Turkish bath procedure… "You go into room.  Fat ladies with moustache will come and give you massage…"

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Oh yes… sky colour of the week… blue, true true blue… heated blue… this one was taken inside the Blue Mosque…

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One of the winners of the Koza Young Fashion Awards in the ready to wear category where err…Anna Kournikova was present… had to blink and blink again to verify that it was in fact her…

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Sevan Bicakci's jewellery is pretty internationall renowned with plenty of stockists but it was the first time I had seen it up close in his store near the Grand Bazaar which is pretty much like a swanky Aladdin's cave…

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Onto the Grand Bazaar which of course is an Istanbul-must see with over 4,000 stalls.  Sadly I had a pretty odd time walking through the stalls with EVERY seller shouting "Konichiwa" or "You Japanese?" to me as I walked by… nothing I haven't experienced before but when there's approximately 20 men doing it at the same time, it does put you off looking at these sellers' wares let along actually stopping to buy something.  I did find some amazing antique jewellery in the Old Bazaar section but balked a bit at the prices in relation to my own measly pot of available funds…

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The suspended book entrance to the Istanbul Modern… craned up to see what needed reading…

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Bora Aksu presented his S/S 11 collection as part of IFW which in part was a continuation of the underwear as outerwear, nude deets-filled A/W 10-11 collection… my favourite pieces were naturally the fleshy flowy parts…

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I possibly may have overgorged on pistachio nuts since most Turkish sweets are full of the stuff…

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5 times a night?  Really?  Is that actually necessary?  Can someone verify this because ostensibly this just looks like a normal walnut cookie…

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Dried tomatoes, peppers and aubergine skins looking lush and again echoing the colours that infiltrated Zeynep Tosun's S/S 11 collection….

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The finale page-turning piece to Arzu Kaprol's varied collection…

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Most enthusiastic entertainer ever at the Vogue Turkey party… she had moves…

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Anna Piaggi and her minder joined in on our sightseeing tour.  I applaud her for being able to wear so many layers in such searing heat.  She was also wearing some amazing creepers that I wanted to pick her brains about but was scared her minder might errr…. swat me away…

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Inside the Harem of the Topkapi Palace doing a mirror shot with one of the biggest/most ornate mirrors I've ever seen…

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I love a good wax figurine 'recreated history' set-up… this is where the Sultan's mother was supposed to have received guests…

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I did spend a lot of time gawping at fresh produce mainly because I get market jealousy when I go abroad… DSC_3223

On my little go-around the Galata district (DEFINITELY needs a few more trips to explore this nugget area in Istanbul…), I came across Laundromat which sold a lot of Turkish designers.

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One of the co-owners is a designer herself…Yasemin Ozeri makes fairly muted that are a step up from basics but never showy or ostentatious… I picked up a cropped shirt that actually saved me from running out of sweat-free clothes…

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Some images from her collections…1-1

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They also stocked some interesting leather goods by brand Tizu (no website I think…) – I liked the rust effects on the laptop cases…
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A fairly new addition to the Galata district was Bahar Korcan's store…. some of the clothes had a Tsumori Chisato feel about them with their whimsical motifs and Korcan's own winged-logo…

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We also saw Bahar Korcan's presentation of her S/S 11 collection 'Listen' which was consisted of 17 pieces of costume and was accompanied by Fuat and DJ Mr Pink (Turkish rapping contrasting against the freeform nature of the frou-frou costumes…) DSC_3305

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Tried to count how many buildings had huge Turkey flags or portraits of Mustafa Kemal Atat√ºrk hanging but I lost it at about 300… don't think I've seen so much national love in one city before… Being the ignorant tourist that I am, I did not know that 30th August is Turkey's Victory Day.  Stupid Brits Abroad eh?

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I had to go seek SOME shopping pleasure so ended up at Second Chance, again in the Galata district which is a bijoux two floor teensy tiny vintage treasure chest.  I got myself flocked velvet shirt that is purely for sessions of  autumnal leaf-crunching…

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Considered these sandals as my "Look look, I got these GENUINELY Turkish-made sandals…!" souvenir but couldn't verify whether they were just a tourist trapping buy or not…

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At another Turkish-designer filled boutique Midnight Express, I found Zeynep Tosun's A/W 10-11 collection which is surprisingly well-priced…hmmm… a cheeky email about private orders for the S/S 11 collection is perhaps in order…

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Now, I don't want to rain on the food parade that I had in Istanbul because I did have some excessively yummy things but I did find it quite funny to see these err…canapes on the Bosphorus boat cruise we took… basically Kraft cheese slices on white bread cut up into triangles…

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Ah… a sky that isn't bright bright true blue… the cruise wasn't the final part to my Istanbul trip but it was mighty pretty, made cuter by Olivier Zahm's daughter Asia running about the boat, shrieking in French and thus breaking up the slightly stiff talk of fashion journalists on the boat… I think my juvenile canape snapping didn't sit well with the rest of the crowd either.  Yes, go back to primary school little one…

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