MAPPED OUT

WHAT TO DO IN… ISTANBUL

Istanbul’s position straddling the Bosphorus makes it a magical meeting point between East and West. The city is a historic melting pot of Asian and European influences, and its fertile fashion soil has produced a cool new crop of contemporary brands, including Gül Hürgel. The designer has become one of our favorite labels for pretty, feminine designs with a twist. Hürgel was born and raised in Istanbul, studied at New York’s Parsons School of Design, and then brought it home, launching her label back in her home city in 2017. “Istanbul is a bridge connecting the ancient and modern world. It captures you with its treasures, chaotic way of living and cuisine,” she says. Her aesthetic? “Chic and feminine, with Mediterranean influences and lots of lightweight fabrics like linen.” Let her guide you through the exotic eateries and secret spots of her hometown…

Wedding pictures

Istanbul style is… glamorous but covered-up; locals beat the heat in billowing maxi dresses, voluminous long-sleeve blouses in natural fabrics and add lashings of jewelry. Trainers and chic flats are a must – it’s a very hilly city. “I love wearing slightly masculine pieces in the day, like high-waisted pants with a white linen shirt. And always flats!” says Hürgel.

The Four Seasons at The Bosphorus

“If you want to really feel like you’re in Istanbul, there’s no better location. The hotel has the best views of the Bosphorus.”

Kılıç Ali Paşa Hamamı

“I go to the hammam with my best friend every month for a pampering day. Make a reservation, have a full-body scrub and cleanse and then relax for a couple of hours. You’ll still feel clean a month later.”

Haci Bekir, Taksim

“A historic old store that sells some of the city’s finest Turkish delight. I always buy the rose and mint flavors.”

The Istanbul look

Casual chic like jeans and sneakers for daytime sightseeing (don’t forget scarves to cover your head if you’re visiting religious sites). Plus, plenty of crisp linen shirts, ruffled dresses, glamorous flat sandals and statement earrings for cocktails overlooking the Bosphorus by night.

Blue cashmere sweater

MOST INSPIRING SPOTS:

Sitting outside on a ferry from Sirkeci to Kadıköy

“On a sunny day, I highly recommend taking a ferry – you can eat simit and drink tea while watching the seagulls playing in the wind and the city fly by…”

The quarters of Fener and Balat along the shore of the upper Golden Horn. “They’re both great walking routes.”

Grand Bazaar and the nearby Spice Market

“Absorb the atmosphere and pick up some traditional Turkish sweets and dried fruit.”

BEST RETAIL THERAPY:

Feriköy Antique Market in Bomonti and A la Turca in Çukurcuma

“They’re both brilliant for vintage and antique gems like rugs, and other interiors pieces.”

CULTURE SPOT:

Istanbul Archaeological Museums

“You get a fascinating insight into the physical history of the city here.”

BEST PLACES TO DRINK AND EAT LIKE A LOCAL:

Aleko’nun Yeri, Yeniköy

“For the best fish and meze in Istanbul – washed down with a tall glass of iced raki (anise-flavored brandy), of course.”

Zübeyir Ocakbaşı, Taksim

“Come here for the most delicious kebabs. My favorite is the aubergine.”

Kanlıca area

“The cafes here are known for a specialty: yogurt topped with powder sugar. You have to try it!”