November 21 2011
Mark C O’Flaherty
The most fragrant and seductive aspects of the Bosphorus and its hallucinatory Bazaar arrive by way of Brompton in London this week, with the launch of Lokum Istanbul on Walton Street. As concept boutiques go, Lokum sits somewhere between Asprey and Ladurée, with a bold and colourful east-meets-west twist that represents some of the best stocking-filling opportunities this season.
The original store has been a cult favourite in Istanbul since its founder, Zeynep C Keyman, opened its Anouska Hempel-designed doors in 2005. A visit to the boutique to select pastries and scents from its dramatic black-lacquered cabinets, before having them gift-wrapped in fez- and tambourine-shaped packaging, has been a must for long weekends ever since. From Tuesday November 22 the Lokum Istanbul range of fragrances, bespoke stationery and homewares will be available at the new Chelsea store, designed again by Keyman’s close friend and long-term collaborator, Hempel.
“Lokum” is what the rest of the world more commonly knows as Turkish delight. It’s an apt name for a store that is infused with the smell of the jewel-like sugared rose candy, although the version that Lokum Istanbul will be selling is made with natural honey and grape molasses (from £26 for 350g) to a centuries-old Ottoman recipe, presented in boxes with handmade black pom-poms. Elsewhere, there are rosary-type strings of traditional, brightly coloured akide sweets (£34 a box) – a historical nod to the coins kept on pendants by Turkish soldiers during the Ottoman Empire – and the label’s signature range of colognes (£23) including lime, linden blossom, rose, fig, tea, lavender, mandarin and mimosa varieties. The store itself has been designed by Hempel to resemble a pasha’s palace chamber, with a domed ceiling and marble sinks in the bathrooms.
Keyman takes Proustian inspiration from childhood memories of the tastes, smells and colours of her childhood in Turkey. Some have been channelled into the Lokum Istanbul range of three-wicked travel candles (£31): Rumi’s Rose, Pasha’s Dream and Myndos Breeze. She has also produced a quirky, beautifully designed book (£18) about the irresistible wonders of Turkish delight, with playful illustrations by Selçuk Demirel. Her stationery range is pretty and shamelessly frivolous, while the homeware textiles – decorated with the Toile de Jouy patterns that were such a hit at the original store – come in hot pink and vibrant orange, complemented by a new range of silverware. And, as with the Istanbul store, everything comes exquisitely boxed and wrapped.