Music, Literature, Dance and Fashion
Ottoman fashion
“Fashion is a significant area of cultural borrowing that reflects the broader exchanges of ideas that occurred between the Ottomans and the West” (Charlotte Jirousek)
The Ottoman influence on European high fashion was significant, but it is also seen in the costumes of the Serge Diaghilev’s famous Ballets Russes, in particular in the ballet inspired by the publication of Arabian Nights and its main character Scheherazade. The use of richly decorated waistcoats and breeches, and dresses and accessories made from fabrics such as chiffon and gauze, inspired European fashion designers and appealed to the European craze for dressing “á la Turk”, as can be seen in the various portraits that immortalise the trend. The designs of fabrics and dresses, such as those produced by Mariano Fortuny, demonstrate the trend for the “Turkish” style.
Madame Josephine the Landlady of the Hotel Constantinople in a Turkish Dress


The British Museum, London, United Kingdom

Portrait of Madame Josephine, owner of a hotel in Istanbul, in the “Turkish” style. Portraits, whether painted or photographed, of Europeans in the “Oriental” or “Turkish” style show the extent to which both trends influenced European fashion. In this case, the woman in question would have lived in Istanbul, hence her dressing in the local style.

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