Scenography Commission








Costume Working Group Meeting, Istanbul, Turkey

May 2 – 9th 2010

Evcimen Percin and Canan Goknil hosted the program for Istanbul focusing on the Kaftan and it’s influence on Western Dress.  After a welcome from Evcimen Percin and a brief “Introduction to OISTAT and The Costume Working Group” by Laura Crow, we had a symposium with many informative papers:

Assoc. Prof. Hulya Tezcan from Turkey “The Evaluation of the Sultan’s Costumes Collection According to Ottoman Fashion”
Seref Ozen from Turkey “Traditional Costumes from Central Asia and Asia Minor
(Kyrgyz, Uzbek, Turkmen and Ottoman Turkey)
Serdar Basbug from Turkey “Design and Realization Process of the Troja Dance Performance”
Irena Sentevska from Serbia “The Ottoman Heritage in Serbia and its Visualization in the Theatre”
Tali Itzhaki from Israel “National History – Theatre History: Exhibiting and Recreating Theatre Costumes”
Simona Rybakova from The Czech Republic “Recreating and Reconstructing Historical Costume for Stage and Film”
Rosane Muniz from Brazil with Emilia Duncan “Recreating Historical Costume for Film in Brazil
Kazue Hatano from Japan “Traditional Historical Costume Creation for NOH & Kabuki”
Graham Cottenden from The United Kingdom “British Research Resources for Costume Makers”
Selma Djulizarevic from Serbia “Garments and Fashion Accessories Required to Recreate Portraits for Theatre”
Sofia Pantouvaki from Greece “Recreating Historical Costumes for Classical Ballet”
Ljiljana Petrovic from Serbia “Personal Imagination and Conceptual Solutions for Costume”


The Blue Mosque, the largest mosque in Istanbul and the religious center.

There was discussion about publishing CWG papers on line as part of the Costume Working Group Website at www.costumes.uconn.edu

There was discussion about peer review prior to publication and Bobbi Owen of the Publications Commission volunteered to edit the papers.  Other means of communication were also discussed and Lise Klitten (Denmark) has subsequently set up a private Facebook Group for CWG.

Simona Rybakova patiently fielded questions about Prague.  There will be 25 – 30 costumes for the “Extreme Materials” exhibit.  They all will have been in performance sometime within the past five years, and all entries must come through their local OISTAT Center.

Suggestions were made about what the group could do as a whole at the Prague Quadrennial.  Tali Itzhaki (Israel) proposed that we create “Costume as Performance.”  The idea would be to take several suggestions, but deciding on one or two ahead of time and the group would bring pieces to create one or two of the costume ideas in Prague together.  The creation of the Uber-Costume would be Performance Art.  Perhaps the costume would perform or else be a subject for endless photo opportunities.  The important element is the joint creation by an international team of designers.

There were other Scenofest Ideas for Wales in 2013.
- A drawing/costume design workshop, with a formal or informal approach and given by a prominent artist/designer. (Ljiljiana Petrovic)
- Creating the Design Idea. Professional designers talk about how they approach a design concept. (Laura Crow)
- Who are the Costume Working Group? A session designed to inform and recruit new people to the group. (Laura Crow)

Following the Symposium there was a Kaftan Workshop held at the Istanbul Moda Academy.  Students worked along side the Working Group members from around the world and each interpreted the Kaftan through different eyes.  The titles ran from “Reconstructing Saville Row,” that was a jumble of tailored jackets and ties made into a Kaftan by Graham Cottenden and Gemma MacNay from the UK, to “Sixty-Nine,” a Kaftan made from 69 bras from 1969 done by Danish designer Lise Klitten.  Sometimes the themes were more political like Anat Mesner from Israel whose title was, “All the World Working Towards Peace and Communication,” or “The Death of the American Dream,” a Kaftan made from destroyed American Levis, by Laura Crow, USA, to “White Emotion” from the icy land of Finland by Marja Uusitalo.  There was a tribute to the Native Americans by Margaret Mitchell titled “Eagle Kaftan.

The Costume Working Group at the Moda Academy for the opening of the Kaftan exhibit.

Two outfits from Sadberk Hanim House Museum on Bosporus Cruise

More exotic outfits from Sadberk Hanim House Museum

The workshop culminated in a grand formal opening with Wine and Hors D’Oevres.  Images from the exhibition may be seen on the Costume Working Group website under “Istanbul.”

At the same time the group went to visit ISMEK, a school for Muslim women that is renewing an interest in handcrafts and traditional arts of Turkey.  The Government-sponsored school trains women in the arts of machine embroidery and hand done ribbon embroidery as well as traditional paints and glazes on ceramic objects, fashion design and construction, knitting, crocheting, and jewelry making. ISMEK is interested in selling their talents in the west, but so far only high priced fashion houses can afford to use them.  The school is in the conservative neighborhood of Istanbul where the women were veiled completely in black.  Most of the women of Turkey, however, wear fashionable hijabs, that are beautifully patterned silk headscarves.  They also wear ankle length long sleeved coats in all range of colors, including white, but mostly modest tones of browns and grays.  There are women in western dress as well, but not so commonly as before.  Often women students are in blue jeans, cardigan sweaters and hijabs.

Muslim Swimsuits for Women

Modern girls, one in western dress and her friend in brightly colored fabrics and very high fashion.  She wears a hijab, she has on white leggings but her ankles are showing – not OK for Muslim women – she’s a rebel.

The Costume Working Group and a few of the Publications Commission members visit the Government School for Muslim Women IZMEK.

Several were treated to an afternoon at the Atelier of Canan Goknil.  She is currently designing the costumes for an epic movie about the Ottoman Empire.  She also produces very high-end uniforms for royalty and luxury hotels.

A Royal Guard sample from Canan Goknil’s company Best Dressed Uniforms

A Victorian Palace along the Bosporus

Canan Goknil in her studio with studded leather garment for Ottoman Empire Epic Movie

Costume Display at the National Theatre

One of the last activities for the group was to accept an invitation to see a production of Romeo and Juliet designed by Canan Goknilat the National Theatre.  An exhibition of splendid theatre costumes from their various productions was on exhibit in the lobby.

Following the formal part of the meeting, there was a two day tour of the highlights of Istanbul including the Blue Mosque, the largest and most prominent mosque in Istanbul, the Hagia Sofia with the largest dome in Romanesque architecture finally revealed for the first time after ten years of restoration.  Other highlights include a trip to the Byzantine Chora Church with it’s special

There was a trip to Izmir to see Ephesus, Aphrodisias and other Hellenistic cities as well as the work of local textile weavers and a rug weaving outlet run by the government.  They control a loose collective of women weavers who do the work at home.  Each woman is given a loom and trained before going home to do piece work.  A hand tied silk rug the size of a prayer rug can take up to three months to create.  It is painstaking work with each tuft hand tied and cut individually.

Group Portrait on the Bosporus cruise


Future meeting proposals and Directors:
Amsterdam October 2010 – Sabine Snijders
Prague June 2011 – Laura Crow/Lise Klitten
Philippines Jan 2012 – Rollie deLeon
Brazil June 2013 – Rosane Muniz/Emilia Duncan
Wales WSD November 2013 – Graham Cottenden