Ece Ege, the designer behind the Turkish label Dice Kayek, talks about her life in fashion.
'My pictures of my mother are still an inspiration'
My parents were fashionable people but not in fashion. Their style was very contemporary. In my mother's youth, in the late 1950s and early 1960s, for instance, prêt-a-porter was not very available, so if you wanted to dress chicly you had to order clothes. She would buy her fabrics in Paris or Geneva during the summer-holiday period, and then when we were back in Turkey she had a couturier and she would order everything. She would show him pictures, design things, describe what she wanted. And I was always with her for her fittings, with my sister, admiring my mum. She had very, very short shorts, even at that time in Turkey.
She was a very beautiful woman, very elegant and modern and fashionable - and my father was as well. My father was very elegant and handsome. My pictures of my mother are still an inspiration. When she passed away, we did a big fashion show dedicated to her at l'Opéra in Paris. It was very beautiful, and all the collection was inspired by her wardrobe. I still have some of my mum's clothes and I sometimes wear them, and the people, when they see me, they say: "How beautiful, where did you get this? Is it your design?" And I say, "No, it's my mum's, and these pieces were all made to order."
I always liked clothes, of course; I always paid attention to what I wore, even at eight years old. It's in your genes I think. But I never thought it would be my career. When I was at college I was thinking of something creative, but first I wanted to do architecture, and then gemmology, and then I don't know what, so finally I finished up doing fashion studies. The architecture comes through in my clothes, I know. I love all the solid foundations.
Why did I want to be an architect? Well I wanted to embellish the environment. There are so many horrible things around the world: beautiful nature and then the buildings and constructions don't match the beauty of nature. Of course, you can't compete with nature, but still it's like a fashion show, or putting two items together: it's styling. Some of these people shouldn't have touched buildings, but it's too late. So it's something to embellish, and fashion is also about embellishing people.
I grew up in Bursa, near to Istanbul. It was the first capital of the Ottoman Empire, so it's a very old cultural city, you can imagine. In 1453 the capital moved to Istanbul, which was then Constantinople, and got bigger and bigger, but Bursa has it's own incredible charm. But again, people constructed very ugly buildings and unfortunately it got big and a bit chaotic. Well, this is the destiny of all beautiful cities. Except in Italy, you know, they keep some very old sites and then they construct all around.
I live between Istanbul and Paris. I never left Paris, though. I studied here and then I stayed. I thought, if fashion is going to be my career, I should live here, so I never left. But for factories Turkey was very interesting - my sister and I knew many people from our childhood who became industrialists and they have factories or they produce fabrics, so to be able to bring them together for our business was a bit easier for us. At the beginning you need to order very small quantities. We couldn't go to big companies and ask for 50 metres of fabric - so Turkey became very important to us and now, today, we go to Istanbul every week.
I design jewellery for myself and have it made in Turkey. I like rings and bracelets. I can't wear earrings - it hurts. I love diamonds - who doesn't? I don't really like coloured stones. Maybe rubies because they're a very nice colour, but diamonds are for ever. They are beautiful, they're modern, they're simple and I only like colourless. I have a jeweller friend in Turkey who makes my pieces - good friends, good prices.
I hate hats. Even when I was one year old, my mum was telling me, mothers they love to embellish the children with hair clips, and when she put them on I was taking them off and throwing them away. But shoes - I'd love to make a shoe collection. I don't have a favourite designer and that's why I'd like to make them. I think in the market it's a gap. Breathtaking shoe design is not around this season. It's very important how your leg looks, not your feet: it's all the body - your posture changes, and a very beautiful curve of the leg is rare to find and technically difficult to achieve.
Dice Kayek Pink Collection is stocked at S*uce in Dubai and Abu Dhabi (www.shopatsauce.com)