What a delight indeed – and a godsend – that a couple of years ago Yastik by Rifat Ozbek came into the life of A-Gent of Style.

We all know the famous Turkish-born London fashion designer Rifat Ozbek who was feted in the 1980s and 1990s for his exotic and ethnic designs inspired by places such as Africa, the Far East and the Ottoman Empire, and who was named ‘British Designer of the Year’ twice. He became a global phenomenon with top models like Helena Christensen and Naomi Campbell parading in his glamorous and colourful creations on the international catwalks.

Ozbek’s other passion sees him scouring the depths of Turkey and Central Asia for the most sumptuous fabrics and antique embroideries, and a few years ago, with the collaboration of Erdal Karaman, he turned his attention and talent to creating exquisite and luxurious cushions – Yastik in Turkish – influenced by many styles and cultures.

After opening his first boutique in Istanbul in 2006, Ozbek opened another one in 2010 in London’s Holland Street, off Kensington High Street. The all white-painted boutique is like a pristine gallery displaying precious works of art in a serene and refined atmosphere. The space is bright and airy, simply but cleverly curated.

Since the shop is two doors away from Willer – where I was last week for a preview -and considering how much I love Ozbek’s cushions, I decided it was high time I reviewed it here.

Until Yastik opened its doors in London, it was always hard work as a decorator to find for my clients beautifully crafted, contemporary and fun cushions that you could buy in the UK off the shelves – with the exception of the more traditional yet gorgeous Robert Kime‘s. Very often, we had to resort to importing from America the equally stunning Madeline Weinrib cushions but it was difficult to justify sometimes that the shipping costs could be higher than the actual cushion!

According to Ozbek, “A cushion is a luxury; a reminder of a journey; a memory or a dream. The inspiration behind Yastik is the desire to spoil with choice for this ultimate interior accessory”.

And these yastiks certainly do. As an Ikat lover, this is bliss as the fussy-looking pattern is one of the recurring theme at Yastik.

There is a selection of over 150 cushions with over 100 designs here. Each shop has its own bespoke collection reflecting the moods and environment of its own location.

Each design is produced as a limited edition. The collections – summer and winter – invariably include a mix of cotton and silk Ikats, silk velvets and embroidered Suzanis. The cherry on the cake is that a lot of the cushions are double-sided with a different fabric at the front and on the back and they also all contain a small quantity of fragrant dried lavender – look out for the pretty tiny cushions. Divine!

Brazilian florals, Ottoman silks, African patterns, English interior stripes and vintage weaves give each cushion its own character and personality. And what I love best about Ozbek’s quest for sourcing materials from all around the world and having them made in Turkey is that his products redefine the textile landscape and the art of craftmanship: all the cushions are hand dyed, hand loomed and hand printed.

– named after the French painter and the lush botanical gardens in Marrakech he designed which later belonged to Yves Saint Laurent –  is the new collection that is currently in the shop and that I saw on Tuesday.

“This new collection is emerging from the dazzling flowers of a lush, exotic garden refreshed by the murmur of its fountains, the intensity of its infamous blue and peering through its enclave. Our new colour palette encompasses all the colours of the exotic garden. It includes a spectrum of yellows, pinks, reds, greens and blues”, says Rifat Ozbek.

What a cornucopia of colours, textures and patterns!

He adds: “A garden like Majorelle has always been a great source of inspiration for artists and designers thanks to the richness in variety of its plants and the strong colour contrasts created throughout the gardens”.



One comment

  • What gorgeous photographs! This has reminded me I used to walk past this shop regularly, and always stopped to look in – such beautiful colours and patterns displayed in such a wonderfully simple, contemporary setting. It really makes the designs and colours sing out – happy sigh!! Plus, I visited the Majorelle gardens in Marrakech – more happy memories … thankyou A-Gent of Style!

    June 27, 2013

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