How did you become a fashion designer? Why do you show in Paris now?
Arzu Kaprol: My mother and my grand mother were couturières. I was raised in this atmosphere and then I studied fashion in the Fine Arts Academy of Istanbul and later at the American Academy in Paris. After graduating I won a couple of awards in Turkey what helped me to finance and to open my own brand thirteen years ago. Now that we are quite established in Turkey with five mono brand shops we decided to go more international. That’s why we came to Paris this season to present the collection in the gardens of the Palais Royal.
Who has influenced your vision of fashion and how important is your research of new fabrics?
A.K. :. When I started my career Issey Miyake was my main inspiration because he was always looking for new structures of fabrics. I’m now working for this collection with the lightest fabric in the world: it’s superfine, transparent and ery soft polyester. It weights only 12 grams per square meter and it allows special prints to be made on. The result is an illusion of 3D, like a hologram or a second skin. It’s so light and when you move the shape looks like a shellfish, as if you were in outer space. Finding a different gravity - this is very interesting for me.
How do you work? Where do you start a new collection?
A. K.: Today I take my Couture line as laboratory, because there I don’t have a time or a price limit. We are totally free. But if you are only doing Couture you can easily forget that you are human being, that there is life and social system. So I do as well prê-à-porter de luxe which keeps me real and grounded. Everything is about reinventing the fabrics, mixing different fabrics like leather, crepe and tulle (which are normally not associated) and giving them a new shape for the future. This collection started with two visual influences - the body paintings of a Tribe in Ethiopia and the book sculpture of a contemporary artist.
Why do you nee to think about a futuristic way of making fashion?
A.K.: I see myself as futuristic designer with very contemporary applications. For the new collection for example I can take a tribal design – based on the body painting of an African tribe – convert it into future, mix it with different fabric and techniques in combination with the old craftsmanship. There is no other way for than this to think about.
What is the “leitmotiv” of your collections?
A.K.: In every jacket you find the old ottoman symbol of prosperity and happiness. It initially was a coin representing all the different cultures that the Ottoman Empire carried and it was supposed to travail from hand to hand. I integrate this traditional sign inside of every of my pieces like a talisman for the end user. It’s like a soul I want to keep from the past though the whole silhouette remains completely futuristic. And I thought al lot about the woman in Fritz Langs “Metropolis” because the film shows the searching and creating a different form of living.
Are there oriental elements remaining in your work or are you going for an international style?
A.K.: The oriental and Turkish culture is with inside me but you wouldn’t name it by looking at me. I keep it secret. I’m not adapting my style to different territories, I do only one collection that I’m carrying worldwide. The markets can select their own products out of my collection - and certainly shops in Dubai or in Stockholm have different tastes – but in every saison you find some pieces everyone is selling.
Beside you there are Ece Ege, well known for Dice Kayek, and Hakaan who just won the ANDAM: How would you explain the wave of new talented Turkish designers?
A.K.: To our big advantage we still have in Turkey the manufacturing system, this whole production chain that Europe lost because of the high production costs there. A Turkish designer can design something, go to the producer and immediately you can touch, handle and create the final piece. Whatever we create it has to be produced.
How does your company works? Are you financed by a big industrial group?
A.K.: Yes, I’m supported by the biggest Turkish retail operation and textile producing company, Ay Marka Magazacili. My brand is expanding subsequent to our license agreement. I’m carrying my own brand and in the same time I was creating their brands eight years ago. Since then I’m working as as a design manager for their sub-brands Network and Que Woman Collections and the style is a little bit like Max Mara. But thanks to all this support and to my collaborations I still are a independent designer.