Turkish-born, Henley-based couture designer Arzu Kara has a lot to shout about lately. Her work continues to go from strength to strength, her new campaign, which is her Autumn Winter 2015 collection is almost complete and ready to hit the hangers and there’s a chance that some of her stunning designs may hit national TV screens too.
Arzu, based in Henley since she started up her label in 2006, has a clientèle list which now numbers over 500, including top model Anastasija Bogatirjova and Dashion muse Olivia Harrison. Arzu’s designs can be found in a number of boutiques in the UK, USA, online and ASOS Market place. She undertakes bespoke commissions for haute couture garments. Locally, her pieces can be bought from My Boudoir, a boutique fashion store in West Street, Marlow.
Looking fresh faced from a location shoot which only ended at midnight the previous evening, Arzu is delighted with the first rush of images from her photographer which finally bring together the final run of shots to complete her Autumn Winter 2015 collection. Set in a disused quarry in Chinnor, near Thame, the images are a stunning backdrop to the signature pieces which form the new season designs. She hopes to capitalise on publicity using her Turkish roots by having some images put out into the market place over there during the current run of Istanbul Fashion Week.
Speaking of Fashion Week, Arzu said: “I’d love to do more haute couture”. She continued: “I have all these ideas in my head but it takes so much time. I do love my design collections, as the pieces I make are wearable on an everyday basis. My pieces are usable and workable. I don’t necessarily have the notion that my clients would wear my pieces and someone would see them in the street and think ‘Oh, look, there’s a woman in an Arzu Kara dress’. For me it’s important for my clients to know they are wearing one of my pieces but it’s not necessary for anyone else to recognised it’s one of mine. The key is having a client wear one of my pieces and make it their own with their accessories so the style is completely theirs. If you see other pieces with frills, zips and so forth, it’s a completed outfit. My designs are for my clients to make a unique look all of their own and form the foundation of their ‘look’. I’d say that 95% of my designs are machine washable. To dry-clean every thing would be horrendous and would also add to the cost of the outfit. People don’t need that hassle with their everyday wardrobe any more. For special occasion pieces then dry-clean is fine as often the designs have embellishments and are of fabrics that are suitable for dry-clean only, but it’s not an option for everyday wear.”
Pictures: Lynda Bowyer
In line with previous collections, Arzu’s Autumn Winter 2015 collection is made from natural and protein fibres or a mixture of them. She said: “I love the fact that these materials give wear-ability and ensure the pieces have much more longevity. A favourite piece amongst my clients this year is the Alara Dress from my collection entitled ‘It’s Complicated’. It’s inspired by how I felt at the time of a relationship break-up, where things seem complicated on the surface, which is where you have the spiders web overlay on the simple background material.”
One of Arzu’s models is Chloe-Jasmine Whichello, who has modelled extensively for the designer in previous collections. Chloe-Jasmine has recently risen to fame and is a finalist on the ITV hit TV show ‘X Factor’. Arzu says: “She’s gorgeous. She was well known in the modelling world before she went on X Factor. She’s a lovely girl. I’ve got footage somewhere of her singing on shoots as she loved her singing. We’ve had a long string of text messages and she asked me if she could wear some of my dresses, so I’ve sent some over on the off-chance. If she’s able to wear them on camera, that would be amazing if the stylists let her do that.”
Looking to the future, Arzu is taking on the mantle of Lord Alan Sugar and has recruited her own Apprentice. Arzu said: “I’ve got a a girl who is a graduate in Fashion and Textiles coming to work for me. She’s really good, really eager and really respectful. I like to help young people out and also get something in return, and I will look to finish off my Spring Summer work. In the next year I hope to get into more boutiques and get more people in London to sell my work. Maybe one day I’d like my own stores but the amount of pieces needed would mean more designs and higher production. One of my unique selling points is that I focus on low production and bespoke work. Clients can come in to see me, talk to me and have the pieces designed to fit them. I love my clients. I think my keeping my work unique and bespoke keeps it real, and I get to to hear first-hand from my clients what they think and I can factor their feedback into my work.”