What We Are Reading Today: Ottoman Baroque by Ünver Rüstem

Updated 16 October 2018
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What We Are Reading Today: Ottoman Baroque by Ünver Rüstem

  • Ünver Rüstem reclaims the label “Ottoman Baroque” as a productive framework for exploring the connectedness of Istanbul’s 18th-century buildings to other traditions of the period

With its idiosyncratic yet unmistakable adaptation of European Baroque models, the 18th-century architecture of Istanbul has frequently been dismissed by modern observers as inauthentic and derivative, a view reflecting broader unease with notions of Western influence on Islamic cultures. 

In Ottoman Baroque — the first English-language book on the topic — Ünver Rüstem provides a compelling reassessment of this building style and shows how between 1740 and 1800 the Ottomans consciously co-opted European forms to craft a new, politically charged, and globally resonant image for their empire’s capital.

Rüstem reclaims the label “Ottoman Baroque” as a productive framework for exploring the connectedness of Istanbul’s 18th-century buildings to other traditions of the period. Using a wealth of primary sources, he demonstrates that this architecture was in its own day lauded by Ottomans and foreigners alike for its fresh, cosmopolitan effect. Purposefully and creatively assimilated, the style’s cross-cultural borrowings were combined with Byzantine references that asserted the Ottomans’ entitlement to the Classical artistic heritage of Europe. 

Such aesthetic rebranding was part of a larger endeavor to reaffirm the empire’s power at a time of intensified East-West contact, taking its boldest shape in a series of imperial mosques built across the city as landmarks of a state-sponsored idiom.

Copiously illustrated and drawing on previously unpublished documents, Ottoman Baroque breaks new ground in our understanding of Islamic visual culture in the modern era and offers a persuasive counterpoint to Eurocentric accounts of global art history.

 


What to wear in 2019: The fashion trends that will dominate the next 12 months

Snakeskin is a major trend in 2019. (Getty Images)
Updated 17 January 2019
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What to wear in 2019: The fashion trends that will dominate the next 12 months

  • The top fashion trends of 2019
  • From Popcorn sweaters to patchwork pieces

DUBAI: Here are some of the top fashion trends that will rule in 2019.
POPCORN SWEATERS
One of the best ways to identify trends these days is to keep an eye on Pinterest. And pom-pom covered sweaters and cardigans — created using circular crochet bobbles known as popcorn stitches — showed a serious surge in (p)interest toward the end of 2018, with pins featuring the kitsch-y style increasing by 1,395 percent in a short space of time — according to the online bulletin board’s “Pinterest 100” report — marking it out as one of the new year’s major trends and the coolest way to stay warm in the region’s cooler months or on trips to colder climates.

RUCHING
It’s an American designer with Lebanese roots, Norma Kamali, who’s often credited with bringing gathered fabrics into the mainstream and popularizing ruching in the 1980s. In 2018, an American model with Palestinian roots — Bella Hadid — was one of numerous runway walkers sporting ruched clothes on the catwalks to promote 2019 collections. Versatile, flattering and easy-to-wear, ruching is one of this year’s most popular ways to make a silhouette sizzle.

SNAKESKIN
Forget leopard- or zebra-print. This year, for those wanting to take a walk on the wild side, the big game is snakes — at least according to several fashion tipsters (including the “Pinterest 100”) and based on the runways of the Spring/Summer 2019 shows, from Gucci’s snakeskin cami dress to Gigi Hadid walking in a snake-print skirt for Versace at Milan Fashion Week. Stay on-trend by shunning the real thing and opting for an eco-friendly faux-snake piece.

YELLOW
Just as Coldplay predicted before they blanded themselves vanilla, it’s “all yellow” this year. Marigold (or “Gen Z,” if you want to get all millennial about it) yellow, specifically, will continue to surf the wave of popularity it grabbed last year, thanks to young celebs including Millie Bobbie Brown (“Stranger Things”) and Yara Shahidi (“Black-ish”) putting it in the spotlight. But lemon yellow, too, will be brightening up the streets this year, as suggested by designers including Marc Jacobs and Chanel at their Spring/Summer shows.

NEON
If yellow isn’t quite bold enough for whatever statement you’re looking to make, you’ll be glad to hear that even-more-eye-searing color — in the form of neon — is also riding high in 2019’s trending fashion lists. After years of pastel design dominance, vibrant tones are going to be big this year. From Off-White’s combo of the snakeskin and neon trends at Paris Fashion Week to Jasper Conran’s doubling-down on neon in London, the Spring-Summer runways were full of them.

TIE-DYE
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a trend long-ridiculed as hopelessly out-of-date will one day be repurposed as bleeding-edge fashion. In 2019, it’s the turn of tie-dye. The style beloved by hippies and psychedelic-rock fans is returning with a vengeance, kickstarted by getting much love shown to it at New York Fashion Week. Admittedly, the 2019 version looks a bit tidier than the retro DIY done-in-my-bathtub styling that was popular last time around, but the kaleidoscopic, flowery patterns at its heart are straight out of the Sixties.

PATCHWORK
Forget the homely, rustic/frumpy vibe traditionally associated with patchwork — in 2019, mismatched patterns will be everywhere, from coats to shoes. High-end designers including Libertine and Isabel Marant (who went for patchwork denim — a fabric that will also be big this year) gave patchwork with a modern twist serious exposure on the catwalks at the major fashion weeks, and that’s already started to rub off on high-street retailers, ensuring patchwork blanket (!) coverage in the near future.

OVERSIZED HATS
If you follow Instagram fashionistas, then this is one trend you’ll definitely have already identified. Big (but, like, BIG) hats were all over social feeds last summer, and brands aren’t going to miss out on the chance to shift a few units this time around — meaning we’ll likely see a swing from cult status to mainstream approval for massive headwear this year.