||Rifat Ozbek (1953 - ) Born in Istanbul, Rifat Ozbek grew up in this magical Turkish city, living there until 1970,
when he moved to England to study architecture.
|Later in London, Rifat discovered his interest in fashion design. His talent was
immediately recognized and he made a decision to pursue a career in fashion.
In 1976 he graduated with honors from St. Martin's School of Art in London and in 1984
started his own company under the Ozbek label. Working from his apartment he took London by storm, creating a series of small collections with strong themes which were
inspired by movies, books, and London's youth culture.
His flair and style were soon acknowledged by the press and the most important
international fashion retailers. Today his collections have gained worldwide approval
and he has acquired a distinguished and celebrated following.
Mysterious and reserved, Rifat Ozbek is highly protective of his privacy. His rapid rise to
fame has produced a popularity from which he shrinks, preferring a simple lifestyle
which is highly unusual in the glamorous world of fashion design.
Hussein Chalayan was born in Nicosia (Lefkoşa in Turkish) in 1970 and graduated from the Turkish Maarif College of his hometown. He moved with his family having moved to England in 1978, obtaining British citizenship and proceeded to study design in London. His graduate collection in 1993, titled "The Tangent Flows" in 1993, contained clothes which he had buried in his back yard and dug up again.  An instant sensation, the whole collection was purchased and displayed in luxury designer store Browns in London.
In 1995, Chalayan beat 100 competitors to clinch a top London fashion design award. In the contest, organised by the company "Absolut", Chalayan, aged 25, won financial backing to the tune of £28,000 to develop creations for the British capital's Fashion Week in October 1995.
Also in 1995 Chalayan works with Icelandic avant-garde pop diva Björk. The jacket that Björk wears on the iconic cover of her album Post was designed by Hussein Chalayan. The Björk's Post music tour also featured several creations by Chalayan. Björk also modeled for Chalayan in October 1995 for London Fashion week. Björk on Chalayan: "He raises daily life to a level of something magical, he was born with these powers and it is a question of whether 50,000 business people are willing to go there with him."
In the fall of 1998, while still designing his signature line, he was appointed as a design consultant for New York knitwear label TSE.His collaboration with them lasted till 2001 when the company decided not to renew his contract.
Chalayan has always struggled with sponsorship and funding, often receiving it from various other companies and his own country.TSE's decision not to renew his contract caused further financial difficulties as the designer amounted 250,000 pounds in debt and was forced to go into voluntary liquidation.Subsequently, he restructured his company and staged comeback collection in 2001 without a catwalk presentation,and designed for high-street label Marks and Spencer to make ends meet.Italian clothing maufactuer Gibo also helped the designer as did British jeweller Asprey, who appointed him as their fashion director the same year.
However, his achievements have not gone unnoticed. He was crowned 'British Designer of the Year' in 1999 and 2000,.and was awarded a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) on 17 June 2006.International recognition also followed, where he was awarded the Design Star Honoree by The Fashion Group International at their annual Night of Stars Gala, New York in 2007.
Things continued to improve for the designer. In 2002, Chalayan expanded his design portfolio with his menswear line,, the exclusive rights of which were sold to internet retailer Yoox.com in 2007.After going through financial woes including having to move his studio three times and working from home with his team in-between, he announced plans to relocate his fashion shows to Paris.In 2004, he and added another diffusion line 'Chalayan' to his expanding list of design duties.
In 2003, Hussein Chalayan portrayed his wabi-sabi inspiration through amorphous layered drapings.
A passionate fashion designer, Chalayan has made his feelings for celebrity-based fashion clear when he publicly announced how he felt about Kate Moss's collaboration with high-street clothing label Top Shop, calling the move "insulting".
Collaborations do not stop with art and fashion for the designer, who is also a philanthropist. In 2007, he donated a showpiece to the Fashion is Art exhibition in aid of radio station Capital 95.8's Help a London Child charity which was sold at an exclusive auction in London.
In early 2008, he designed a series of laser LED dresses in collaboration with luxury label Swarovski, showcased in Tokyo.28 February 2008, Chalayan was appointed as the creative director for German sportswear label Puma.Puma have also announced that they have purchased a majority stake in his label.The designer also collaborated with German hoisery and legwear label Falke to produce one-off footwear pieces for his Autumn/Winter 2008 collection show cased in Paris
Selected exhibitions where his work has been presented
- Design Museum London (2009)
- Embankment Galleries [Somerset House], London - Skin and Bones: Parallel Practices in Fashion and Architecture (2008)
- 2005, The first large-scale solo exhibition. "Hussein Chalayan: Autumn/Winter 2005", The Groninger Museum, The Netherlands(17.04.2005-04.09.2005)
- 2005: 51st International Venice Biennale (representing Turkey)
- Museum für Neue Kunst, Karlsruhe (2004)
- Institute of Contemporary Arts, London (2003)
- Victoria & Albert Museum, London (2001)
- F.I.T., New York (2001)
- 7th International Istanbul Biennale
- Tate Modern, London (2001)
Musée de la Mode, Palais du Louvre, Paris (1999)
London-based Turkish designer, Bora Aksu received his first acclaim when he graduated from the prestigious Central Saint Martins MA course in 2002. Quoted as "the star of the show" by broadsheets such as The Independent, The Daily Telegraph and The Guardian, Aksu’s collection attracted not just the press but Domenico Dolce and Stephano Gabbana who purchased pieces as inspirational items for themselves. This same collection also caught the attention of the ARG equation group where he won a sponsorship award from them, giving him the opportunity to make his debut off-schedule catwalk show at London Fashion Week, February 2003.
Once again, Aksu’s show received raving reviews and an impressive turnout. Suzy Menkes was in attendance and CNN introduced him as the rising new name. His show was also quoted as "one of the top five shows in London" by the Guardian. Aksu went on to received the Top Shop New Generation Award and was subsequently placed on the official London Fashion Week calendar for the following season. His Spring/Summer 04 collection drew inspiration from everyday objects such as stripy duvet covers, tea towels and granny underpants which he reworked into entirely new, feminine and wearable shapes. The collection created such a stir that it caught the attention of leading department stores including Liberty, Selfridges and Barneys.
Receiving the Top Shop New Generation Award for a second time, Aksu’s Autumn/Winter 04 collection entitled Disciples was a vision of nomadic but contemporary journey into fashion where he matched complex cutting with minimal seaming and juxtapose soft and stiff fabrics with delicate details.
For his Spring/Summer 05 Living Waters collection, Aksu was presented with the Top Shop New Generation Award for the third time. The 70s glamour inspired and romantic collection had Vogue quoting "The buzz around Top Shop-sponsored New Generation designer Bora Aksu is ever-growing and with this latest Biba-esque collection, it's easy to see why. Multi-layered asymmetric chiffons in the season's favourite mint flavour, lemon, oyster and orange floated effortlessly down the catwalk screaming 'wear me and feel retro-fabulous'."
With this collection, Aksu defined his style in London and Tori Amos bought up the entire collection for her Bee Keeper world tour.
With the support of a fourth Top Shop New Gen Award, Aksu presented his Autumn/Winter 05 Promised Land collection at London Fashion Week, prominently showing an accessories range on the catwalk.
Through the collaboration with the leading London contemporary dance company, the Cathy Marston Project, Aksu was inspired by the challenges he met with designing their costumes. Exploring the idea of movement, stage presence and maintenance of beauty, he channelled them as a theme for his Spring/Summer 07 show. Taking his collection further by collaborating with Converse, Aksu fused the everyday sneaker and its sporty elements with couture techniques to produce a collection that is fluid, casual, tailored, glamorous but nevertheless complex.
Working with the Artisan Armour group who produced items for epic films such as Troy, Alexander and King Arthur, Aksu finished his Autumn/Winter 07 collection with one-off leather and metallic sculptural body pieces.
With 10 shows under his belt, his collabrations and projects with various artists carries on. Bora also signed a contract with People Tree-Fair trade organization to design exclusive capsule collections to raise awareness on fair trade work shops.
Born in Istanbul 1968, Atil Kutoglu graduated from the German Lycée in Istanbul and came to Vienna to study business administration. When still at school in Istanbul he was already freelancing for the country’s leading fashion companies Vakko and Beymen.
In 1991 Atil Kutoglu completed his business studies at the University of Vienna and presented his first collection with the help of a grant from the Mayor of Vienna, Dr. Helmut Zilk. At the 1993 Munich Fashion Week he was awarded the City of Munich prize as the best newcomer. This was followed in 1994 by the „DIVA-Woolmark“ prize for the best Austrian fashion designer, awarded by the International Wool Secretariat and Austria’s „DIVA“ fashion magazine.
In 1995 shows in Düsseldorf, Milan and New York were given an enthusiastic reception and reviews, particularly by the American press (e.g. „The New York Times”, etc) and the retail trade. At the 1996 „Salzburger Gespräche“ (Salzburg Conversations) textile symposium, Atil Kutoglu was awarded the coveted Salzburg Prize by the German Publishers Guild and the Austrian fashion paper “Die österreichische Textilzeitung”.
In 1997 Kutoglu opened the first „Vienna Fashion Days“ with a fashion show at which Countess Pilar Goëss – a leading trendsetter in Vienna and a celebrated model in the Seventies returned to the catwalk for Atil Kutoglu. He also designed a special silk scarves collection for the Archduchesse of Austria Francesca von Habsburg´s exhibition „The St. Petersburg Muraqqa“ which featured oriental miniatures and examples of calligraphy from past centuries.
1999 Atil Kutoglu was Invited by Mrs. Berna Yilmaz, wife of the Turkish Prime Minister to show his “Ottoman Collection” on the occasion of the 700th anniversary of the founding of OTTOMAN EMPIRE with a gala fashion show in the renown Yildiz Palace in Istanbul.
In 2000, the curators of the big Millenium – Gustav Klimt retrospective “Klimt and the Woman” exhibition chose 27 designs of Atil Kutoglu to be displayed next to Klimt paintings as a fashion exhibition. They demonstrated parallels in the works of the big painter and Atil Kutoglu, as to the sources of inspiration and subjects to be dressed – or painted (famous woman) being similar.
Atil Kutoglu designed a special accessories collection (scarves, shawls, ties and t-shirts) exclusively for the Sakip Sabanci Museum in Istanbul, one of the first and leading private museums of Turkey. The collection is still on sale in the museum boutique of the old Sabanci mansion on a hill alongside the Bosphorus.
Atil Kutoglu also organized a big fashion gala in December 2004 in the renown Hofburg Palace of Vienna under the patronage of H.E. Dr. Ursula Plassnik, Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs of Austria. The 2 recent collections of Kutoglu were presented by a 27 models team down a 70-meters-long runway. The gala being prior to the EU- assembly date to announce that negotiations with Turkey would start, also marked a friendly gesture between the 2 countries Austria and Turkey.
Early March 2005 Kutoglu was ranked 238. in the annual “1000 Most Important Persons in Austria”-list of the renown politics-weekly NEWS magazine of Austria, leaving many prominent politicians and celebrities of the country behind himself. In the list with Austria´s President Heinz Fischer being 1. and Prime Minister Wolfgang Schüssel 3., Kutoglu was described as a “world-class international fashion designer”.
The influence of Orient is always present in Atil Kutoglu´s collections. His favourite materials are leather, organza, mousseline, velvet and lustrous materials. Kutoglu remains faithful to his oriental roots and his creations often transport women to a mystical world. Clients and admirers of Kutoglu creations include members of the aristocracy and show business personalities such as actress Emily Lloyd, Princess Francesca von Habsburg, Princess Ira von Fürstenberg, Princess Michael of Kent, Princess Nilüfer Sultan of Turkey, pop-star Viktor Lazlo, Elizabeth Jagger, Mica Ertegün, Princess Camilla von Habsburg, Arriana und Hubertus von Hohenlohe, Blaine Trump, film stars Sonja Kirchberger, Barbara Wussow, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Naomi Campbell, Lauren Bush (President´s niece), Nabila Kashoggi, Austria´s Foreign Minister Dr. Ursula Plassnik, Padma Lakshmi-Rushdie etc.
Atil Kutoglu has been presenting his collections with fashion shows at the New York Fashion Week for the past 4 seasons. Kutoglu´s creations are sold in several countries around the world.
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