Go inside the worlds of art, fashion, design, and lifestyle.
Karavil, an interior architect, wanted to create a space that mixed design, fashion, and food. A collaboration with Uziyel, who graduated from Parsons and worked at brands like Zara and Escada—a luxe line of mules, boots, and bags—soon blossomed to complement what was already offered in the store.
The shoes are made in Italy and embroidered (to a maximum effect) in India. Whitewall spoke with co-founders Karavil and Uziyel about the Fall/Winter 2018 collection and defining a new kind of cultural hub in Istanbul.
WHITEWALL: Your Fall/Winter 2018 collection was inspired by your childhoods. Can you tell us about that?
SERENA UZIYEL: For all our collections, we get inspiration from childhood memories. For this collection, we were inspired by the eighties and nineties, around the time we grew up. We lived in Istanbul and traveled all over the world growing up. We were surrounded by different people and experiences.
ENIS KARAVIL: Since our childhood we’ve been friends, our families were friends, we used to spend summers together in Greece or Turkish islands and were surrounded by nature. The culture of those islands influences our design process.
We also launched our men’s collection. We had so many inquiries from men—I myself wanted to wear the designs!
WW: The collection features velvet, leopard, 3-D embroidery. It’s so tactile. How are you drawn to materials?
SU: I’m very tactile—I start everything with the hand. Then it goes to the silhouette, and then the embroidery. We use lots of glitter, sequins, velvet. When you see the material, you feel it’s the right moment to use it; it’s the right color. We used cheetah, flowers, the rose, and historical figures from our culture that come together to tell the story.
EK: It’s quite multicultural, and we like maximal details on the shoes. It’s very flamboyant, but we also use extremely masculine touches.
WW: Your embroidery is so sculptural, it almost looks like jewelry.
SU: They are like made with real hammered metal yarn, so they give you the 3-D aspect. The embroidery is a huge contrast between the base. That looks very glamorous, this kind of a contrast.
WW: Tell us about your concept store in Istanbul. What kind of space did you want it to be?
EK: I wanted people to experience what I like and what I think. When I decided to go ahead with the concept store idea, the vision of chemistry was very important. Serena and realized we could make one big picture together, and when the store was ready, we started to do shoes and bags.
The store was an older space. We renovated it, had a restaurant inside that served local main dishes, very healthy.
We are combining different pieces like design, art, and food. Upstairs is our office and our atelier. We open at eight a.m., so you can come for breakfast. We close for private openings, dinners, and parties. We believe in experience. It’s not just a store where you come and buy the shoes. You stay and you get to know us better.
WW: Why did you want to blend the realms of art, home, fashion, and food?
EK: We have design objects and art, furniture. We do interior projects. It’s like an art gallery within which we show our products.
We didn’t want to explain ourselves. We wanted to show it. If someone would wear our shoes, what kind of candle would she like? What kind of food would she like to eat? What kind of sofa would she like to sit on? It’s all the same language somehow under one roof.
We opened the store almost four years ago, and it was a completely industrial zone. Now it’s changing and turning into a little Meatpacking District in New York or Corso Como in Milan. It’s been organic. People are coming slowly and opening galleries around us, restaurants, those kinds of things.
SU: But the area still has the industrial-area feel. Everyone who comes to the store feels like, “Wow, how did this happen?” There’s a magic feeling still. It’s an amazing experience.
EK: Our clients look at the shoes, and they go, “Wow,” and it’s the same when they come to the store. That makes us happy. That means they complement each other, and they all speak the same language. We believe in the power of contrast. It shows the history of Istanbul.