Mehtap Elaidi, the jewel in Turkey’s crown
Mehtap Elaidi has practically become synonymous with Turkish fashion. The designer, born in Istanbul in 1964, launched her eponymous ready-to-wear womenswear brand 19 years ago. Known for its experimental cuts and exaggerated volumes, the label combines casual elegance and functional design with quality materials and craftsmanship, which is why it has become a the jewel in Turkey’s crown and one to follow for the rest of the world.
Mehtap Elaidi’s fashion show was one of the most anticipated events during the last edition of the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Istanbul. The designer, who has been serving as head of the Association of Turkish Fashion Designers for eight years and currently sits on the Istanbul Fashion Week’ committee, presented her collection for the Autumn Winter 2019/2020 season. It was a commercials and wearable linen, far from any artifice, that showcased her artistry in crafting structural poplin shirts and shirt dresses. Beige trench coats were reinterpreted with the brand’s signature classic lines, tailored trousers and draped dresses with subtle floral and stripe prints presented in a colour palette of white, black, bronze and blue.
The label has come a long way since starting with a store and a studio in the exclusive Nişantaşı district of Istanbul. In fact, it currently operates about 35 stores in nine countries. The Middle East, including Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait, generates most of its revenue, but European countries like Germany and Italy are also important for the business. And it plans to make a US debut in the coming years, where it is already available via the e-commerce platform Yoox. Attending fashion trade shows such such as Pure London, Tranoi and Who's Next has also formed part of the brand’s strategy, but its main focus is now the showroom format. With prices from 190 euros for a top to 500 euros for a dress and 600 euros for a trench coat, Mehtap Elaidi defines itself as an accessible high-end brand for the East, and a top destination for savvy Western shoppers looking for new brands.
Now in its 13th season, the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Istanbul held at the Zorlu Performance Arts Center in March continued to boost the local fashion scene by turning the spotlight on Turkish fashion, which is supported by the country’s strong industrial sector.
“Turkish fashion has a multicultural background and a wealth of crafts from different regions across the country,” Mehtap Elaidi told FashionNetwork.com. “But despite the Turkish textile industry being defined by its strength and experience, it’s not customary for factories to produce in small quantities, so it’s a challenge to find the right suppliers,” the designer commented on the challenges facing Turkish fashion designers.
Despite this, Mehtap Elaidi has a bold vision for the country.
“I have great ambitions for MBFW Istanbul,” she says, adding that she has never missed a season since the event’s launch. “It has a positive impact on the Turkish textile industry and fashion scene. Now all designers are aware that they have to prepare their collections according to the international fashion week calendar. And the number of designers who sell abroad grows every day.”
All the more reason why onlookers ought to follow them closely.
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