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From Ottoman palaces to Paris runways: kutnu fabric

The French fashion house Dior has used a Turkish textile in their recent men’s collection, but kutnu has existed long before the 21st century. Here’s its story.

A model wears a creation made with kutnu fabric as part of the Dior men's Spring Summer 2023 collection presented in Paris, France, June 24, 2022.
A model wears a creation made with kutnu fabric as part of the Dior men’s Spring Summer 2023 collection presented in Paris, France, June 24, 2022.
(Michel Euler / AP)

Kutnu fabric, a relic of Ottoman weaving techniques, has made it to the runways of Paris Men’s Fashion Week. Seen in Dior’s Spring/Summer 2023 collection, the fabric, woven in Türkiye’s Gaziantep province, has proved to be a smashing success story.

A combination of floss silk, cotton and rayon threads hand woven into a striped fabric, kutnu was utilised by Dior’s head of menswear Kim Jones to dazzling effect.

The fashion house also shared the fabric on social media, calling kutnu “a precious fabric once associated with the sultans of the Ottoman Empire … transposed to the realm of sportswear.”

Dior also shared a mini-documentary on Twitter, where it said the production of the “historically imperial textile specially woven in Turkey” was revived only as recently as five years ago. The documentary shows the exacting production techniques of the fabric, whose use goes back to 16th century Ottoman palaces.

Fashionista (and famed football coach Fatih Terim’s daughter) Buse Terim wrote that the Kutnia brand in Gaziantep, which supplied the fabric to the Parisian fashion house, has managed to produce the fabric at a greater width than historically made, thus allowing greater ease for its use in modern clothing.

In 2018, the Kutnia brand was beginning to show up in news stories: “President of the Kutnu Promotion Group, Julide Konukoglu said they want to promote kutnu globally with the help of Gaziantep Mayor Fatma Sahin,” wrote the English-language newspaper Daily Sabah

“To be present here at Premiere Vision is very important for us. We are promoting the fabric under the brand Kutnia. We want to export kutnu to different countries in the world. It is unique and has been woven since the early 16th century,” Konukoglu explained to the paper.

Terim told her readers that the kutnu fabric’s history goes back as far as the Silk Road, when silk brought by travellers passing through the southeast of Türkiye was blended with the locally grown cotton by hand.

Terim said the recreation of the kutnu fabric originally began as a social responsibility project and that the fabric was revitalised without losing its essence, with hopes that it would spread and succeed globally.

With production facilities in Gaziantep working hard to create the iridescent, delicate fabric, it is only a matter of time before kutnu conquers the world of connoisseurs.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies

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