A unique fashion project that translates the allure and rich multi-cultural heritage of Istanbul into artistic pieces of clothing has won this year’s Victoria and Albert Museum's Jameel Prize 3, a prestigious award for contemporary art and design inspired by Islamic tradition. This year’s recipient Dice Kayek, is a Paris-based high fashion studio ran by a creative duo from Turkey, the sisters Ece and Ayşe Ege. Dice Kayek’s 'Istanbul Contrast' collection was chosen from the near on 270 entries from around the world, making it the first fashion project to win the Jameel Prize. In choosing the duo’s project, the prize judges stated that Dice Kayek’s work ''demonstrates how vibrant and creative Islamic traditions continue to be today'', and that ''their translation of architectural ideas into fashion shows how Islamic traditions can still transfer from one art form to another, as they did in the past''. The award ceremony was held on 10 December 2013 at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, UK.
The prize itself was conceived after the redesign and redisplay of the V&A's Jameel Gallery of Islamic Art, which opened in July 2006 and has been running every two years since 2009 – organized by the V&A and the Abdul Latif Jameel Community Initiatives (ALJCI). Designed to complement the Gallery and the V&A collection (one of the most important collections of Islamic art in the world), the prize also provides a showcase function for new art and design that reflects the Islamic traditions of the past on display in the museum whilst engaging with a wider debate about Islamic culture in general and its role today. Organised under the patronage of world-renowned architect Zaha Hadid, the Jameel Prize has been previously awarded to Afruz Amighi (2009) and Rachid Koraïchi (2011).
In addition to the Jameel Prize, the initiative also includes an exhibition of the ten shortlisted entries, all of which, again, are inspired by the diversity of Islamic tradition - here the works on display engage with Arabic typography and calligraphy, social design, video installation and miniature drawings. The Jameel Prize 3 exhibition, featuring the work of its 10 shortlisted artists and designers is currently on display at The Porter Gallery of the V&A Museum, London and will be open through 21 April 2014 (entrance is free). For opening hours and more information please visit the V&A website.
Raised in Bursa, Turkey, Ece and Ayşe Ege’s aesthetic is deeply rooted in the tradition of their country, and one of their sources of inspiration is of course the extraordinary city that is Istanbul. Dice Kayek recognises that Istanbul is a city of contrasts, combining elements of the East and West within its multiple layers of history. The duo's 2010 Istanbul Contrast collection contains 26 garments inspired by the city’s wealth of cultural influences, from Ottoman-era royal attire to the golden wings of Byzantine angels seen in the mosaics in Hagia Sophia.
Before being shortlisted for the Jameel Prize 3, the Istanbul Contrast collection was shown in Paris (2010), Istanbul (2010) and Amsterdam (2011). On the occasion of the current V&A exhibition, a limited-edition book has been released, which tells the story of how the collection was created as well as the inspiration behind it.