London, Asharq Al-Awsat—The Jameel Prize, an international award for contemporary artists and designers inspired by Islamic traditions of art, craft and design, was awarded to Dice Kayek earlier this week.
This is the first time the prestigious award, given biannually by the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, has been presented to fashion designers.
Dice Kayek, established in 1992 by sisters Ece and Ayşe Ege, triumphed over 270 entries with Istanbul Contrast, their collection of garments that evoke Istanbul’s architectural and artistic heritage.
In exclusive comments to Asharq Al-Awsat, Ece Ege said: “We designed Istanbul Contrast to express the story of the city of Istanbul, and this collection is different to the modern collections that we design for the market.”
Istanbul Contrast is a collection of 19 dresses. One of them, “Caftan,” is made of hand-woven lamé brocade and refers to the luxurious robes worn by the city’s former Ottoman rulers. In another, lightweight cotton organdie was folded to echo the ribs of the lead-covered domes of the city’s mosques and palaces. “Hagia Sophia” is a white satin coat with complex hand embroidery and antique glass beads inspired by Byzantine mosaics.
The Victoria & Albert Museum’s director, Martin Roth, said: “The judges felt that Dice Kayek’s work demonstrates how vibrant and creative Islamic tradition continues to be today. The 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.”
Ece and Ayşe Ege live and work between Istanbul and Paris beat nine other finalists who had been shortlisted for the prestigious art award, which comes with a 40,000 US dollar prize.
Accepting the award on Wednesday, Ayşe Ege said: “It’s a great feeling; we are thrilled. We never expected it; it’s such a great honor for us.”
Her sister, Ece Ege, said: “I’m very proud to be shortlisted, first of all . . . being present here at the Victoria & Albert Museum is such a great honor, among all of these great artists who were shortlisted.”
The Jameel prize shortlist included a number of prominent artists showcasing different art forms, including carpets, calligraphy, jewellery and multimedia art installations.
The shortlisted artists were Faig Ahmed, Nada Debs, Mounir Fatmi, Rahul Jain, Waqas Khan, Laurent Mareschal, Nasser Al Salam, Florie Salnot, and Pascal Zoghbi.