Champagne corks popped in Wargrave this evening as Henley-based designer Arzu Kara celebrated the opening of her “pop up store” inside Willow, which is based on the High Street, coinciding with the launch of her latest Spring/Summer 2014 collection.
When asked how the collaboration with Willow came into being, Willow shop owner Janet Middleton-Stewart commented, “I’m a client of Arzu’s. I saw an advertisement in a local newspaper for someone doing alterations and contacted her through the advert. I love her work and now have around half a dozen pieces of Arzu’s in my wardrobe.”
Willow itself hasn’t been going long; five weeks in fact. Assisted by business partner Jane Martin and Janet’s daughter Sarah Penny, the shop remains open six days a week. “I cover the first three days,” explains Janet, “and Jane covers the last three. We’re always looking for new ideas and will be holding similar events to tonight’s event for Arzu in the future.”
Turning back to Arzu, she was born and raised in Istanbul, Turkey, and came over to live in the UK having first studied fashion in her homeland. She completed further studies at industry-renowned St. Martins in London and then later graduated with an Honours Degree in Fashion Textiles from Thames Valley University. Arzu worked for a few fashion houses before she then went on to establish her own label, Arzu Kara Designs in 2006. Based in Henley on Thames, Arzu’s clientèle now numbers over 500, including top model Anastasija Bogatirjova, Chloe-Jasmine Whichello and Dashion muse Olivia Harrison, who comes back time and time again for the unique Arzu Kara ‘look’ that they adore. Arzu’s designs can be found in a number of boutiques in the UK, USA, online and ASOS Market place. Arzu also undertakes bespoke commissions for haute couture garments.
Arzu is clearly a very talented woman whose flair for understanding the cut and drape of a garment shows through in the pieces she designs and produces. “I am thrilled that I can showcase my designs to the locals of Wargrave,” says Arzu. “I have gained quite a few clients from Wargrave over the years and the pop-up is a wonderful way of bringing something new to the area and also support local business in the area at the same time.”
The blend of Arzu’s timid personality is in stark contrast to the fearless confidence she displays with great aplomb in her work. A thorough understanding of how fabrics drape, hang and clothe the feminine form is cleverly offset with soft fabrics cut into timeless classics, and they sit comfortably on the rail against some of her more bolder statement pieces. Her collection is very “now”; comfortable and easy-to-wear, producing a flattering silhouette and yet remaining bang on trend. From capsule wardrobe elements in muted charcoal greys to statement pieces which bring a splash of colour or vibrant print, the collection has something for everyone.
Referring to her audience capture, Arzu explains, “My pieces are mainly for the thirty-something woman; someone who is confident about who they are and how they look. I’d like to use this opportunity to get my name out there into the wider area. There is still the mindset that for statement designer-wear you need to go into London; I use local designers and milliners to provide a complete look to my pieces, and I’d encourage the ladies from the area to consider using locally-based designers instead of making that trip into London. We have some amazing talent in this area, so the more we can be of service to women in our area, the better.”
For further information about the pop-up shop, designs and samples visit Arzu at www.arzukara.com. Arzu also has a Facebook page and you can also follow her work on Twitter.
Pictures: Lynda Bowyer
Last modified on Monday, 13 April 2015 09:50