Situated on the northern end of the Golden North, Galata is one of the oldest areas of Istanbul; and often regarded as the city’s trendiest hub. A once walled-in city, Galata offers innumerable dining, shopping and entertaining options, and is the perfect base if an all-rounded holiday is what you have in mind.
While the suburb is the renowned home of international designer boutiques, it is also the springboard of some of Turkey’s most exciting couturiers. Stay in one of our Galata holiday rentals, and get your Istanbul flair fix with our guide to the very best Turkish designer shops around.
Lãl, 14 Camekan Sokak
We absolutely love Lãl! Offering a great glimpse into what is a rather alternative fashion culture, this boutique offers unique leather accessories (think belts, hats & handbags), all detailed using items some may consider junkyard left-overs. We, on the other hand, think the collections here are wearable art pieces, and certainly items you will not find anywhere else. Broken tiles, shattered coloured glass and cut off metal pipes adorn most pieces. Our beloved Lãl items have proven to be many a conversation starter back home, and always for the right reasons. This boutique also specializes in hand-knitted and woven items, all exuding a certain hippie charm.
Simay Bülbül, corner of Serdan Ekrem Sokak &Sahkuku Bostan Sokak
Here’s another leather-fanatic designer, who mixes and matches various fabrics to create eye catching pieces. Think leather skirts with lace and silk detailing, or leather caps with satin trimmings. Every piece is simply divine and (yet again it seems here in Galata) each piece is quite exclusive.
Simay was trained in fashioned designing overseas, but chose to return to her home country to pursue a long-lasting career. Her first collections were sold in the Grand Bazaar and, obviously, made quite an impact on the local fashion market. Her talent certainly made an impact on actress Catherine Zeta-Jones, who was spotted donning a Simay leather jacket soon after her Turkish holiday. The rest…as it is often said…is history.
Head to this fantastic boutique to view the latest collection; there’s bound to be a leather knitted bolero jacket worthy of a second look.
Bahar Korçan, Sendar-I Ekrem Caddesi
This most famous of Turkish designers was one of the first to open her boutique on this street, starting a trend which seem to have no end in sight. A lover of what is often referred to as ‘organic’ fashion, Korçan loves layering soft, romantic fabrics to create a wholesome, feminine yet intensely provocative collection year after year.
She loves patchwork creations, and anything out of the main designer box. Inherently talented, and environmentally aware, Bahar is very much in the big league of haute couture, while maintaining a lovely and personable character.
Should you be lucky enough, you may even get to meet this gorgeous lady on your visit. If you do, let it be known that she may prefer to talk about her painting and writing, perhaps more so than her clothing designing. Yes we know, some people get all the artistic talents…
Down the street from Bahar’s is another sensational shopping find. At Atelier 55, everything is for sale! From the clothing, to the art on the wall and even the sculptures adorning every corner; it’s hard to know where to start looking.
All the items here are an eclectic mix of local and international brands. Atelier 55 is, in fact, the only shop in town you need to visit if your holiday in Istanbul is ever so brief!
Here, you can feast your eyes on Toledano jeweled handbags, Halston heels, divine dresses by Bora Aksu (recently shown at the London Fashion Week) and David Koma’s sexy numbers…all under one roof. If the mere thought of such many designer gems in one shop is just too much to cope with, keep in mind that the in-house café’ serves a wicked espresso; so there’s always time to rest in between shopping sprees.