Established by ISTANBUL’74, a platform for cultural and artistic interchange, the IST Festival is definitely the most high-fashion of the city’s festivals. Of course, with Demet Müftüoğlu-Eseli, socialite and former artistic director of Turkey’s leading fashion brand Vakko, and her husband Alphan Eseli, it comes as no surprise. Aiming to forge international cultural and artistic relations, the three-day festival hosts guest speakers, exhibitions, workshops, screenings and performances at various locations.
The mix of local and international names has always drawn large crowds, who have had the opportunity to interact with influential names from the arts, literature, cinema, music, fashion, architecture and design worlds. With guest speakers and panels chosen according to a certain theme, some of the past participants have included actress Kirsten Dunst, fashion photographer Mario Sorrenti, film director Ferzan Özpetek, musician and actress Courtney Love, and Nobel Prize winning British writer Sir V.S Naipaul (to name just a few).
At this year’s festival, which took place between June 3rd and 5th, the sixth edition of the festival once again paired leaders in art, design, fashion, film, music, literature and architecture with their Turkish counterparts. Under the theme ‘Aesthetics in Arts and Culture’, the event opened with Dutch photographer Anton Corbijn’s exhibition NUMBER 5, in the ISTANBUL’74 gallery in Istanbul’s Galatasaray neighborhood. The exhibition was followed by a welcome dinner at Ottoman expert Serdar Gülgün’s beautiful, historical mansion, including a performance by Ninos Du Brasil.
The next two days included panels at the Vakko Fashion Center and Soho House Istanbul, including a book signing by founder of Dazed Media, Jefferson Hack, a festival gala dinner at the Çırağan Palace Bosphorus Pier Lounge, plus an after party. The sixth edition’s participants included designer and actor Waris Ahluwalia, designer Johan Lindeberg, actor and director Rupert Friend, among others. A special performance with former singer, songwriter and guitarist of Sonic Youth, Thurston Moore, and Turkish band Konstruct was also quite the highlight.