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Interview with Nilüfer Giritlioğlu, Lilipud

A famous art director and costume designer for movies and television, Nilüfer Giritlioğlu opened Lilipud in 2010. In addition to running her clothing design business, Nilüfer is very busy these days as the Art Director of Muhteşem Yüzyıl (Magnificent Century), a very successful TV series depicting the Ottoman era.

Nilüfer GiritlioğluSoUL: Let’s talk about your boutique first. How did you decide to open a boutique store?

Nilüfer: I’ve been an art director and costume designer for many years. As part of my daily work, I would always find myself designing clothes for movies and TV dramas. I also used to do custom designs for friends and special occasions. So, opening my own store came was a natural expansion.

SoUL: How about your design philosophy? Do you use a lot of Turkish motifs for example?

Nilüfer: Although I like Turkish motifs, I actually don’t use them as much in my own designs. I don’t do well with large and colorful motifs; I prefer smaller patterns, more stylized lines and pastel colors.

SoUL: What type of fabric do you use and where do you source them?

Nilüfer: We use a lot of local fabrics from cities like Antakya, Bursa and Antep; but we also work with imported fabrics. For me it’s important to work with organic and natural fibers. So, I work a lot with silk and cotton, which we get from Antakya and Bursa. We only produce a limited number of each design, so the fabrics come from many sources. For example, I was shopping the other day and came across 10 meters of beautiful silk at a store, which I purchased immediately. We can do that because of our scale.

SoUL: How about your customers? Who are they and how do they find you?

Nilüfer: I’ve always aspired to create different designs than what you would typically find elsewhere. I’m quite tall and have always found it difficult to find clothes that would fit me perfectly. At Lilipud, I use myself as the main model, so most of our lines fit tall women very well. Having said that, of course, we tailor for most everyone. We have a lot of foreign customers, who find us through word of mouth or have read about us at a magazine. We have also been written about at the New York Times and other publications, which helps getting the word out.

SoUL: How do you like being located in Galata?

Nilüfer: I like Galata a lot. There has been a tremendous change here. We used to film here a lot, but back in those days, it was not that safe to walk around on your own. But nowadays it looks great. Many cool and trendy places opened here. There are many interesting stores and good venues. So, we like being here.

SoUL: Do you have a few favorites? Where do you recommend visitors go when they are in this neighborhood?

Nilüfer: Let me give you a few local tips. There is a restaurant called Anjel, which is right next-door. They serve a great platter of various dishes made with olive oil (zeytinyağlı tabağı). Their orange cake is pretty awesome. I’d also recommend Füreyya for fish and Kiva for sweets. The café under the tower is a good place to have tea or coffee. After all that they should come to Lilipud for some shopping. I also recommend, that they go into side streets, there are many surprising places around here.

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