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Dice Kayek: Architects of Style

Ece and Ayse Ege, the two Turkish sisters behind Dice Kayek Photo: DICE KAYEK

Architecture and clothes - one way or another, they're both dressing the human body, the former on a grand scale, the latter far more intimately.

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Even so, it's a brave designer who bases a line of clothes around famous national landmarks. But Ece (pronounced Eecchay) and Ayse (Eyesha) Ege (Edgay), the two Turkish sisters behind Dice (Deechay) Kayek, have done just that with their Istanbul Contrast Collection. The results are spectacular, not least because they couldn't be further from those half-hearted attempts to incorporate some decorative drawings of buildings into dress fabrics that some labels pass off as "architectural".

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On the contrary, this is a full-blown deployment of some of Turkey's most stunning structures. There's the ravishing white organdy cocktail dress composed of diagonal folds that replicates Istanbul's famous Blue Mosque, for instance, and the weighs-a-ton, but exquisite, angel-winged evening coat, hand embroidered with antique blown glass beads and clearly inspired by Istanbul's Hagia Sophia Mosque.

Impressive, they're probably not primarily intended for wearing, since they're part of the sisters' victorious submission for the Jameel Prize, an international award presented bi-annually to an artist or designer inspired by Islamic tradition.

This year's judging panel includes Zaha Hadid, Thomas Heatherwick (designer of the new Routemaster bus and the Olympic cauldron) and Martin Roth, director of the V&A. The Ege sisters, who were named as winners last night, are the first fashion designers ever to be nominated.

In some ways this is a natural evolution for them. When I visited their labyrinthine studio in Paris in October, I saw at first hand how sculptural the clothes for their Dice Kayek label are - full of sumptuous A-line silhouettes in beautiful duchesse satins and silks. Matchka, a less expensive label they design and sell only in Turkey, is more of an everyday collection, with floaty, fluid pieces in lovely fabrics. I wish it were sold here.



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