November 23 2010
One of the many designers whom the visionary Joan Burstein at Browns helped to stardom was Rifat Ozbek. She scooped up the Turkish designer’s collections shortly after he set up his company in the mid-1980s to be his first stockist, and by the end of that decade his sleekly tailored pieces, always with an undercurrent of intricate ethnic decoration, were the hottest objects of desire.
More recently, Ozbek brought his distinctive style to the Milan-based Pollini brand and has now turned to interior design, setting up a shop selling a treasure trove of cushions in the smart Nisantasi district of his native Istanbul. This might be a destination too far for many Christmas shoppers, but no matter – Ozbek is one of Browns’ oldest friends and it has bought a small selection of the most beautiful one-off cushions from his Yastik range (it means “cushion” in Turkish) as part of its Christmas gift selection.
Each is a patchwork of a minimum of two fabrics and no two are the same. All the fabrics are limited editions and Ozbek has scoured the world for them: Ikats, hand-embroidered Suzanis from Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan with embroideries based on traditional Ottoman patterns, and even – familiar to his many fans – fabrics from his own former collections.
Ozbek is planning to open his own London shop next year, but for now Browns is the only place to stock these sumptuous pieces of exoticism. It has bought fewer than 40 – in a range of fabrics and sizes, costing from £180 to £360 – so don’t expect them to hang about.