Designer promotes Ottoman motifs to the world

Designer promotes Ottoman motifs to the world

İZMİR - Anatolia News Agency
Designer promotes Ottoman motifs to the world

Hürriyet photo.

Internationally acclaimed fashion designer Zuhal Yorgancıoğlu, who promotes Ottoman motifs to the world via her collections, has said that while beautiful, the costumes in the Turkish TV series “Muhteşem Yüzyıl” (Magnificent Century) are not historically accurate for 16th-century Ottomans.

Women wore caftans and baggy trousers, known as shalwar, rather than tight, scoop-neck dresses, especially during the reign of the Ottoman Sultan Süleyman, Yorgancıoğlu says.


Zuhal Yorgancıoğlu.

Yorgancıoğlu says she really likes the costumes on the series “Muhteşem Yüzyıl,” which has become popular with television viewers in the Middle East and Europe. “[The] dresses are very well designed, but they are not authentic Ottoman costumes. People wore claret, red, green, black, dark blue and light pink caftans in the Ottoman palaces. These caftans were not scoop-necked, and their waists were not tight. They wore baggy trousers under their caftans. Hereke fabric was very famous, and was embroidered with silk and gold. What we see on the TV series is closer to French fashion of that time.

It was not until Sultan Abdülaziz invited Napoleon’s wife Eugenie to Istanbul that French costume become fashionable in Ottoman palaces. The women on ‘Magnificent Century’ are wearing French-inspired clothing. Their dresses are not Ottoman.”

Caftan for granddaughter of Sultan

Yorgancıoğlu once made a caftan for the granddaughter of Sultan Vahdettin, Hanzade, who was known as the most beautiful member of the former Ottoman royal family. Before she passed away, the Hanzade Sultan handed down her dresses to her relatives, Yorgancıoğlu said. “When she saw the caftan that I made for her, she said ‘Do not touch it,’ and said that it should be given to me. I still have it. I will donate it to a charity that works to fight cancer. It will be sold at auction to benefit the charity,” she said.

Inspired by Anatolian and Ottoman culture

Born in 1926, Yorgancıoğlu has worked as a fashion designer for 67 years, creating clothing for Turkish women inspired by Anatolian and Ottoman culture.

The Foreign Ministry has sent Yorgancıoğlu abroad to numerous international fashion festivals to display her designs. She has also worked to introduce the Turkish flag to the world. The acclaimed designer has made dresses for the wives of foreign statesmen, such as Nancy Reagan, the wife of former United States President Ronald Reagan. Yorgancıoğlu says she is known outside Turkey as “Madame Z,” for the first letter of her first name.

She believes the most fashionable wife of a current world leader is Esma al-Assad. “Her dresses don’t seem very expensive, but she is wearing very beautiful clothes.” In Yorgancıoğlu’s opinion, singer Ajda Pekkan was the best-dressed woman in Turkey. Bülent Ersoy, the famous transgender singer, has also worn outfits designed by Yorgancıoğlu.

“There have been successful fashion designers in Turkey in recent years but I can’t call them Turkish designers. They imitate Europeans; I can’t see that they have a Turkish style,” Yorgancıoğlu said.