Turkish delightMay 1, 2016

With references such as Patti Smith, ’70s cult cinema and childhood memories of Anatolia, Lug Von Siga may occupy the same “accessibly edgy” territory of the likes of Isabel Marant and Barbara Bui but, as the label’s founder and designer Gul Agis explains, it’s the Turkish detailing that separates Lug Von Siga from the rest.

Guided by an eight cup-a-day coffee addiction (“the assistants have cut me down to four!”), Gul makes the most of her Istanbul studio’s proximity to Turkish fabrics, prints and embroidery, and approaches each collection with the intensity and vigor of a poet, pinning and underpinning each design like a complicated stanza until she’s completely happy with it.

“I change it 100 times before it’s finished, everyone knows that. It’s a bit like making tea – sometimes you have to wait for it to infuse. It needs time,” she says.

Her references for Lug Von Siga are quite poetic too. Previous collections include an avant-garde tribute to Patti Smith’s book Just Kids – “I imagined a fantasy meeting between Patti and Picasso” – and a quiet smile appears on the designer’s face as she describes how the classic Australian film Picnic at Hanging Rock, based on the 1967 historical novel by Joan Lindsay, provided the inspiration for her Spring/Summer 2016 collection: a coquettish set of white chevron dresses and embroidered off-the-shoulder numbers, which are two parts ladylike and one part punk.

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“I like to mix the past, present and future to find a new kind of femininity,” Gul says, explaining how the collection’s romantic ruffles, along with every moment at Lug Von Siga, is intended for the “ideal 21st century woman.” “It’s not just a historic thing – every collection has to feel fresh and contemporary. So I add some trimming and punk details, but always with a romantic edge.”

In the age of millennial whimsy, Lug Von Siga’s moodboard feels refreshingly character-driven. A lover of cinema and music, Gul admits to becoming softer and less rebellious as she grows older; her only day off on Sunday is spent wandering through Istanbul’s Belgrade Forest “to refresh my mind for the week ahead.” Memories of her childhood in Turkey, split between Istanbul and family trips to rural Anatolia, form the basis of another collection. A quiet and introverted child, she remembers being drawn to fashion from an early age.

“I think I was born as a designer. At four years old I spent a whole year drawing different kinds of skirts: small, long, frilled. My parents were worried about me – they didn’t think I was very intelligent,” Gul laughs. The first Turkish designer to show at Madrid Fashion Week, she lists Georgia May Jagger wearing one of her designs on the front row as a career highlight, and when asked who she would love to see wearing Lug Von Siga, she quickly answers “Cate Blanchett.”

“It would be my dream! She’s the ideal woman of the 21st century. She has this softness and femininity, but at the same time a very masculine edge. And that’s Lug Von Siga, too.”


By Natasha Stallard