Effortless chic style with a mixture of couture is the trademark of my guest this week – British based designer Arzu Kara. Originally from Istanbul, now based in Henley on Thames , Arzu created her own fashion label in 2006. I caught up with Arzu recently to find out more about her style…. Hi Arzu!
Hi! I’m Arzu. In a nutshell, I am fashion designer and creative director, from Istanbul and an owner of a gorgeous sprocker spaniel called Musket and madly in love with a super cool human being.
What inspired you to become a fashion designer?
No one knows, including me! I was around 4 when I used to draw (more like doodling though) and my mother was brave enough to give me a crotchet needle. A few years later, I would try to make outfits for my dolls. Around then we all realised that I love creating, working with fabrics and I was lucky enough to be able to pursue my passion professionally.
Have you always had a background in, and a passion for, fashion?
Yes absolutely. I was born and raised in Istanbul where the education system is completely different, so I went to a vocational high school. There I was taught pattern making/garment construction as well as the standard curriculum, like mathematics and physics. This was the right path for me as thereafter I went to university studying Fashion and Textiles.
I love the Ilayda Asymmetric Dress in Indigo Blue, the Annette Long Skirt in Mint and the Cynthia Leather Skirt in Khaki? What outfits are proving popular amongst your customers so far this season?
Ilayda dress has been a favourite because it’s so flattering and so versatile. I have shortened mine so I wear it for going out with super high courts. The amount of compliments I get is ridiculous which is all down to clever ruching and angles. Also my Janey dress. Incredibly simple but it was a classic. In fact it was named after a client of mine who later became a really good friend and it looks amazing.
Out of all the outfits in your collection, what is your favourite?
My silk tulle corseted dress with leather. The reason is that I have draped the entire dress on the mannequin and just let the fabric do what it wants to do. Furthermore, I just adore working with silk tulle and leather. Equally beautiful equally difficult to work with. My Simone dress too – I feel so wonderful and elegant when I wear it and the colours remind me of the ocean.
Originally from Istanbul in Turkey, you are now based in Henley-on-Thames in England. Your outfits are effortlessly chic style with a twist of couture fashion. Where do you draw inspiration from for your collection?
All of my inspirations come from my clients and the stunning friends that I have. I am very lucky to be living/working in a very influential neighborhood where women just look so well put together but it looks effortless. Also nature, colours and texture. Also, this will sound quite peculiar, but I dream about some of my most complex designs. I love it when it happens – sadly not every day!
Which famous lady would you love to see as the “face” of the Arzu Kara Fashions collection?
It would have to be Charlize Theron. I could look at her face for hours and as if she is not blessed enough with pure beauty and grace, she is also very intelligent, not ignorant plus aware of current affairs – truly independent but feminine with a kind heart.
Looking ahead to Autumn/Winter 2016 – what styles/ colours do you hope will dominate your collection?
Earthy greens, shades of violet and brown are the main colours. I focused on marrying up contrast textures this season. Cashmere with lace wool with silk and so on. Most of them are tailored even though they might not look tailored at first glance.
As you are based in England, is your clothing range available to purchase overseas too?
Yes indeed. Consumers can shop online wherever they are and we just ship it to them. We are also exhibiting this year, so Arzu Kara outfits could be found in independent boutiques across the world.
When you are not designing dresses do you indulge in artwork of some kind or do you have other hobbies?
I love painting with watercolours and free drawing when I have free time ( which is rare); I adore (and hate we have a complicated relationship) hot yoga; and any time spent with my other half, even just talking about our day, is bliss. Lastly, exploring new places and having cocktails with good friends.
Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?
I seem to be living in skinny jeans (I know, it’s a cliche,sorry!) when I am in the studio, as I need to be really comfortable moving around. I wear chelsea boots during the winter months and flats in the summer. For meetings with buyers I tend to wear my own designs and I opt for a more tailored and grown up look. Going out in the evenings, I love wearing high heels and fitted dresses. Unless it’s summer, where a soft fine fluid fabric is a must – I might choose floaty dresses or tops teamed up with shorts or mini skirts.
Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?
I love Maje, Sandro Stefanel and Helmut Lang. Outnet is my favourite place for online shopping – so many labels under one roof and one doesn’t need to re-mortgage the house.
What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?
I have been wanting a really well made, stylish but comfortable nude courts but haven’t found them yet! Clothes will be chosen from my own line. ( And no, I am not biased! :)) Bags are also my favourite. I have my eye on one from Balenciaga’s 2016 resort collection.
Boots or Shoes?
Definitely shoes. I need to be free without so many layers, so with boots I feel restricted. Not in the height of the winter months though! However, I have been seen wearing mini dresses with bare legs and heels while there was still snow on the ground 🙂
Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers can find out more about Arzu Kara Fashions
Thanks so much for wowing us with your delightful outfits Arzu! It has been a pleasure chatting to you. It was great that you studied dressmaking at school. I did dressmaking/needlework too, but alas I was not very good – I struggled to finish off any item after 3 years – half an apron, half a corduroy skirt and half a shirt! Dear readers, did you study dressmaking at school? What did you make? Do share your stories….
All photos have been published with kind permission from Arzu Kara.