Over 500 years ago, the Ottomans ruled a vast empire stretching from North Africa across part of Arabia, right up to the Balkans. Their power and influence was immense and their interests were controlled by powerful Sultans from Topkapi Palace on the Golden Horn, Istanbul.
Befitting their status, the Sultans commissioned teams of weavers trained in the great art of silk hand weaving, to create opulent kaftans in original designs that became so valuable they were treated as a currency of the day. Silk thread produced in Safavid, Iran’s Northern provinces, passed to Bursa, The silk capital of Turkey.
Silk farming within the Ottoman States increased and weaving workshops in Bursa proliferated in luxury velvets and metal ground silks which were purchased by the European markets and often ended up in palaces and churches as secular or ecclesiastical garments worn by high ranking officials. The textile workshops at Topkapi Palace were focused on producing cloth of gold and silver for use as clothing and furnishings in the imperial palace and honorific garments given to courtiers and foreign ambassadors.
The Ottoman Sultans were known for their elaborate ceremonies. Parades in the capital of Istanbul, involved every member of court from child to janissaries (the Sultan’s elite soldiers) who would be clothed in a new design for the occasion.
During the peak of the Ottoman Empire in the 15th and 16th centuries, the great Sultans commissioned thousands of extraordinary designs. Beautiful motifs characterised by wavy vertical stems, carnations, tulips and pomegranate fruit to large scale ogival layouts with delicate peony blossoms, creating a lattice pattern that was popular during the reign of Suleyman the Magnificent.
Ottoman Silks has revived these iconic designs by creating a contemporary Collection of kaftans, handbags, shoes, purses, pillows, waistcoats and hats. All beautifully made, in Turkey.