Media only: James Gordon, 202.633.0520; Rebecca Fahy, 202.633.0521
Public only: 202.633.1000

November 21, 2005
“Style and Status is an astounding and richly complex exhibition that beautifully illustrates the elegance of the Ottoman Empire. The installation dramatically conveys all of the extraordinary imagination in the many fabrics and textiles from children’s clothing to court clothing and carpets.”
—Andre Leon Tally, editor-at-large, Vogue

Bold, vibrant fashions from the Ottoman court of the 16th and 17th centuries are on view at the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, through Jan. 22, 2006 and give a whole new meaning to the term power-dressing. Daring in their complexity, these textiles speak to the contemporary audience with the same exuberance and panache they expressed hundreds of years ago, when they were created for the opulent court of the sultans. Long before Donna Karan created DKNY—her perfect amalgam of dress code and area code—the Ottoman court at Istanbul had fashion all sewn up.

At the sold-out gala on Oct. 26, 2005, in honor of the exhibition’s opening, the Sackler presented four Turkish designers working today—Atil Kotoglu, Gonul Paksoy, Hussein Chalayan and Yildirim Mayruk—with awards that recognized their contributions to fashion. The effervescent evening was made all the more spectacular with the presence of five models donning Kotoglu’s fashions, including international supermodel Alek Wek, as well as a number of guests wearing Paksoy’s blends of antique Turkish fabrics and contemporary materials. Fashionable days and haute nights continue at the Sackler Gallery in a series of public programs, lectures, gallery talks, hands-on events for younger visitors, films and performances.

• On Monday, Jan. 9 at 2 p.m., Valerie Steele, director and chief curator of the Museum of the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City (FIT), surveys the global history of fashion, including Ottoman court dress.
• On Jan. 9 at 3 p.m., professor Walter B. Denny of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, discusses the impact of Ottoman textiles and costume on Europe from the 15th to the 20th century.
• On Jan. 11 at 7 p.m., fashion icon Mary McFadden discusses “Ancient Symbols/Inventive Designs,” an inspiring lecture on Asian, Egyptian, Greco-Roman and other traditional cultures that have influenced her fabulous creations. McFadden is the co-author and subject of the book, “Mary McFadden, High Priestess of Fashion: A Life in Haute Couture, D&eactue;cor and Design.” A book signing follows.

The Freer Gallery of Art (12th Street and Independence Avenue S.W.) and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery (1050 Independence Ave. S.W.) together form the national museum of Asian art for the United States. The Freer also houses a major collection of late 19th- and early 20th-century American art. Hours are from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. every day except Dec. 25, and admission is free. The galleries are located near the Smithsonian Metrorail station on the Blue and Orange lines. For more information, the public may call (202) 633-1000 or TTY (202) 357-1729, or visit the exhibitions section of the galleries’ website.

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