Istanbul Vintage

Selale Gultekin owns a Pied de poule ( vintage shop )in Istanbul .

Her beautiful turkish name means waterfall .

Appropriate , as she is quite literally surrounded under a waterfall of clothes.

Meandering around the cobbled lanes of inner city istanbul we chanced on her cache of nostalgia .image

The tell tale sign was a 50 ,s lace wedding dress stuck to the door , nestled beside it a pleated chiffon party dress in neon lemon shade .

Two stone steps led to narrow glass doors , and a sign imperiously instructing the bell to be rung to gain entry.

I pressed a clammy finger to it as instructed .
The doors were flung wide , the heady smell of plastic and mothballs escaped , as did two startled blonde , 20 plus Nordic types , looking like startled deer.

A dimunitive , brown skinned lady with wild , frizzy , dyed red hair , and heavily kohled eyes , greeted us .
She was dressed in top to toe modern clothing from her american apparel cotton chinos , double layer topshop singlets , leather esprit loafers , and Blue leopard print gstring clearly visible , above her rounded brown hips .
I am Selale she announced and had clearly scented fresh prey as she beckoned us in gleefully to her cornucopia of earthly delights .
What enfolded was a display by a woman in love with her esoteric collection of finery .
It was also a history lesson of her life , as she recounted events by what each piece was worn to and by whom .

Selale,s shop
Selale,s shop

” Oh this is the dress I wore to the ballet ” , holding aloft a magnificent , hand tailored evening gown , with a brown silk top , and green cotton hand worked , lace skirt .
This was my grandmothers, Selale shrieked , as a plastic cover was wrenched asunder to reveal a 30’s flapper dress , the top velvet encrusted eau de nil flowers on sheer bodice , the full skirt a symphony of swirling sheer green silk .
The sweet carnaby st swinging 60’s short green cotton jacket , embellished with large round hot pink buttons , and sweet Peter Pan collar revived fond memories.
Copies of the 50″s two piece suits of fitted jacket & skirts , were used in mad men.

Each garment was lovingly produced and its story told .
This was my mothers , as she proffered a demure , white and brown polka dotted voile , full skirted , sun frock.
She proudly and haltingly shared her history with us in broken English .
My grandmother was the first teacher in Turkey.
My mother was the first nurse in Turkey.
Clearly a milestone in male dominated Muslim turkey ‘s society.
Black and white photos of two impossibly beautiful sultry dark haired beauties were proudly proferred.

Her treasure trove consisted off a tiny room , hall and entry all stuffed with clothing , most encased in plastic & suspended from ceiling hooks . The full length viewing mirror , was through a truculent door , concealed in a dusty lane way.

Every surface was covered in hats , bags , shoes , gloves & jewellery dating from the 30″s to the 70’S .

Selale lovingly chronicled each garment whilst imploring us to try each .
Alas many were too tiny , not belonging to the classical tiny fifty,s era body shape. Unfortunately, our large head and feet , denied us the many dainty offerings on offer.
Eventually a 50’s sculpted jacket , and marching silk shirt plus a sheer nylon 60’s blouse were entrusted into our care . A fair price was reached without much haggling . Selale was happy to release them to a good home .
Sadly she turned her tragic dark eyes skyward and said so many pieces , already I am 60 and still taking more .
Doubtless her only child , a son , shares no interest in her collection and she can only fervently hope for a daughter in law , or granddaughter to take up the reins .
image
A photo taken , us both emitting the catch cry of 50 plus women everywhere ” let us take our glasses off first ” and we were emitted out into the street , our finery incongruously packed into a cardboard Tommy Hilfiger carry bag .
We had chanced on something special in a back street of Istanbul .
Thank you Selale , we,ll be back for that special occasion dress .

Ocelot Commandos

Ocelot a lot
Ocelot a lot
Swaggering down the airport forecourt came the three denizens of animal print couture .
Three mighty examples of large , round , forceful , Hungarian womanhood , strode strode toward me adorned in top to toe animal print , fake gold , black or tight denim .
They were a force to be reckoned with , this majestic trio , trailing gargantuan suitcases
in their wake .
They literally didn’t shut up , and their assault on the Wizz Air drinks trolley , only served to rejuvenate their well developed vocal cords.
I loosely termed them the ocelot triplets .
Life giver , saver , wrangler and tamer that I am , I could hardly be termed squeamish , but they scared the hell outta me .
I voyeuristically gazed on , totally enthralled , & trapped in their spell as they gabbled , burped , farted , and transported themselves from the Hungarian to Ottoman Empires.
Silence was banished from Budapest departure gate 3 , until Istanbul passport control , where they presented a tri edged assault on the quaking Turkish customs official.
Number one was dressed in gloriously distressed stretch denims , black and gold emblazoned skintight tshirt , gold lame jacket Liberace would,ve been proud to own , and the piece de resistance , a pair of black fake leather storm trooper boots , strapped with three trapdoor size fake gold buckles across each.

Number two had the black version of the jeans , black top with indecipherable Hungarian quip ,all in gold of course , and fake leather black biker jacket sporting gold and ocelot embellishments ,looking like a latter day Michael Jackson impersonator.

Number three , a woman mountain , clearly the leader of the pack , was bedecked in head to toe black , and 100 variations of animal print .
This lady was not to be messed with , and clasped an animal toned handbag big enough to house all of Central Europe , to her vast bosom .
Muffin topped, peroxided , blinged up , 50 plus ,
foundation encrusted , they sported enough black eyeliner to ring the entire Australian coast line .
Fluoro orange talons gripped the headrests of our seat upon arrival in Turkey , and jointly they uttered the only words of English I ever heard them say ” who dares wins ”

Case of found objects
Case of found objects

Buda or Pest ?

Wolf Pack
Wolf Pack
Faded glory
Ochre tones
Sweeping vistas
Many call Budapest home
Seamless , easy , gracious virtue
Hand embroidered peasant suits to fit you

Saint Stephen warrior king
looks over everything
High on a hill and down , down, down
Right into Pest from the Buda side of town

Ghosts , baths , cabled buses and trams aplenty
The city rolls and hums with restless energy

Birthplace of European culture
Opera house , music , and high st couture
Vintage , H & M , Hugo Boss all jostle for space in this largely Roman Caholic populace
Cakes , cakes , cakes , cherry strudel adds to a rapidly expanding waist

It’s excitable , classical and Danube fantastical
Earthbound , sky bound , budapest is history town
Bars , clubs , pianists playing to earn their grub
Tongue in cheek , bawdy humour
Covered in age old European mystique and grandeur

It’s is a tortured history of invasion , separation and brutal persuasion
Hysterical , hospitable , holy , happy Hungary
Home to beggars , saints and kings

Budapest
Budapest

Warsaw

Herring salad
Herring salad

Warsaw
Old town , new town , definitely got the beat down
Sepia toned young punks gyrating around
imitating american hip hop trying to run the moves to ground

Beat , feet , music
Drinkers , thinkers , high energy tinkers

Warsaw is big town , hip town , no rigor mortis in this town
Rebellious , querulous , inventive , and nazi preventative
A town steeped in history , shrouded in religion
Burgeoning , bustling , never repetitive
Arty , crafty , everyones at the party
Incense , priests , cobbled streets ,
night skies , artificial fireflys ,

Herbal tea caverns , more ice cream than you can imagine
flower sellers peddling ancient wares , red roses are everywhere

Red & white flag , purity and blood
Polish eagle astride her proud , gritty city

Pole Beer
Pole Beer

Manc

Manc
Manchester Canals

Manchester jewel of the north , gritty urban cobbled sprawl.
Twisting tidy streets, grandiose old buildings, mixed in with newer, silver steel high rises.
Teenag e mums with bleached hair extensions, large Botox enhanced lips and tattoos, wheeling tots roughshod over the cobbles , bellowing in harsh manchurian accents .
I am in the home of ” Corrie ” , the UK’s , 50 year young , longest running and much loved soapie.
The old city has a grace and dignity not easily reconciled to the smoking chimneys , grey skies and discarded remnants of the industrial tools of a working past .
Soft rain cloaks my steps as my wheelie case bounces across the cobbles .
It is a city of contrast, abandoned olde worlde 18th century , orange brick buildings , sprouting elaborate stained glass windows depicting British bird life. A brash steel and perspex triangular edifice houses the football museum where homage is paid to the twin religions of Man U or Man City.
It is a town divided by where your allegiance lies , to the big powerful all conquering ” U ” fans , or the humbler ” City ” supporters .
Tattoo parlours balanced above vintage clothing shops proffer fresh needles for every new client housed in three storey Dickensian tumbling ruins.
Tea shops abound paying tribute to the national tipple , their windows offering Victoria sandwich sponge cakes or the fractured Eton mess .
Primark , that UK shrine to consumer heaven is encased in Victorian stone surroundings , contrasting the permanent and impermanent.
Jamie’s Italian is here, housed in a turn of the century bank and pubs perch on every corner offering a multitude of amber ales .
Vivienne Westwood opens her doors in a soft grey stone edifice , her iconic signature , tilted crown and sabre proudly displayed above the door in gold .
The royal theatre , a grandiose old dame , offers live theatre in a tubular tardis like contraption .
I view a two man play whose main prop is a huge life like tree , the main character hidden in it’s branches , whilst I sprawl on green velvet couches below , last minute tickets costing a mere twelve quid .
Twisting, curving, gracious and fastidious architecture, mixed in with newer trashy incomplete and impermanent structures, scattered together like pieces of a child’s flung jigsaw puzzle .
The intriguing art gallery , offers temporary exhibition ” do it ” on the top floor, which seems to sum up Manchester’s attitude perfectly.