23 November 2007

Yurdan, suzani, and me

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I recently was asked by friend and blogger Style Court, whether I had ever ordered anything from Yurdan, and if so, whether I had been pleased with the company. The answer to both questions was an enthusiastic "yes!" As soon as I replied with my answer, Beach Bungalow 8 chimed in to say that she, too, had ordered from Yurdan without any success - she never received her order. Well, that just wasn't my experience. Yurdan, an ethnic trading company operating out of Istanbul, Turkey can't afford unhappy customers at this point. Their press has been phenomenal, given that they've been featured in these magazines recently: Domino, 3 times, House and Garden (with a personal shout out from Gwyneth Paltrow), House Beautiful, Woman's Day Magazine, and even USA Today. Why all the fuss about a company based in Turkey? Suzani is why. Suzani, an embroidered fabric handmade in Uzbekistan (don't ask me what the name of their country used to be) is the hottest textile in the decorating industry today. Everyone is clamoring for a suzani and the magazines are hot on the heels of this Major Trend Alert. The Californian decorator Michael S. Smith is really to blame for this hysteria. Forsaking the ubiquitous down-filled duvet at the foot of the bed, he started placing colorful suzanis in its place. It's taken a while for the trend to take off, but boy, has it ever gone crazy now. Which takes us back to Style Court and Yurdan. While Yurdan has gotten the most press as THE place to buy relatively inexpensive suzanis, there are several other trading companies with better and bigger selections.

Of course, the best place to start when ordering a suzani is eBay. Most of the major trading companies have eBay stores and using PayPal gives one some modicum of security when ordering from a company based in a third world country. My advice, if you are looking to buy a suzani or an ikat (another Major Trend Alert textile),would be to stick with eBay, and order from an eBay store like Yurdan, Then, start slow. It took me three or four tries before I actually purchased a suzani I was happy with. Word to the wise: stay clear of the velvet suzanis (no explanation needed - think Elvis). Also, if the background looks shiny in the picture - stay clear of these too. Try to buy new, unless you are willing to shell out $1,000s+ for museum-like quality. Otherwise "antique" means holes, tears, and dirt. But be forewarned, some new suzanis bear pencil and pen marks where the embroiderer went out of line, just as a child would while coloring! Lastly, shop around Yurdan's web site. They sell a large range of exotica.



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Michael S. Smith, single handedly started the suzani craze with bedroom designs such as this one in a New York City apartment. He forever banished the down-filled duvet in favor of the colorful, embroidered suzanis.


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Close-up of a favorite suzani of mine. I'll keep it draped over my wine table during the winter only.


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I bought this piece of kilim upholstered luggage from Yurdan. It's almost too cute to use!


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Yurdan sells lots of kilim upholstered furniture like this ottoman. Pieces like this are reminiscent of the famous George Smith club chair, also upholstered in kilim.

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Another stool from Yurdan.

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Yurdan sells a large range of household goods like vases, plates, glasses, jars and tiles.

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They sell several different kinds of rugs, here - a striped kilim.

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And here, a more traditional kilim. I love to layer kilim and dhurri rugs over seagrass.

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They sell a large range of wool mohair blankets. Mostly striped, these would look great in a boy's bedroom or a country home.

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Of course I would love these shoes with jeans. I ordered the bottom pair, but they are too tight - anyone want them? Free to the first one to speak up, size 9!

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This Yurdan suzani in my bedroom is very muted - which I love. The colors are pink and green and very soft - totally different than the black and pink suzani in my family room.

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A large suzani tote from Yurdan. This would be perfect the beach.

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This is from Antiquarian Textiles, a great Ebay store for suzanis, new and old.

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Another one from Antiquarian Textiles, is at a Buy It Now price of $425.00

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Agvgera, has this suzani for sale in his Ebay store.

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In my guest room, the dreaded "shiny" suzani I warned you about. I wish someone would have warned me!!!

If you have any further questions about suzanis, Yurdan, or eBay, please e-mail me and I'll be glad to help out.

cote de Texas