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Ribbon Corset and Bustle skirt.
Ribbon Corset and Bustle skirt. Black ribbon is sewn onto corset to accentuate the bust, waist and hip. Victorian mother of pearl buttons are sewn around neckline. Black tulle is used for the overskirt with vertical black ribbons, 2006. CIRCLE CANVAS SKIRT AND CORSET. The layered skirt is made of yellow canvas and corset of upholstery fabric.
Selma Karaca

A Whirling Dervish of a Designer




Karaca’s spiral pieces fit like a glove yet because they often have a slightly tulip-shaped ease in the skirt they are flattering, so flattering that Karaca calls them her “hotcake” dresses. “Women love them,” she laughs. “They sell like hotcakes.”

Draped over hangers, Selma Karaca’s dresses, skirts and tops can look like funnels of fabric pieced together by someone who adores horizontal lines. A classic Selma Karaca dress appears to be made with one long strip of fabric wound around the body to create a slightly flared tube-sock of a dress, ornamented with row upon row of swirling piping. Another of Karaca‚Äôs signature techniques involves layering bands of fabric on an underskirt so that the finished garment becomes a bell-shaped composition of cascading, horizontal pleats. Both of these design techniques cause anxiety in some would-be customers.

“My dresses have no side seams. They have no zippers. They look like they have horizontal stripes, and this makes women afraid,” says Karaca. “They have heard so much that horizontal stripes do not make you look good and are not flattering. But there is a misunderstanding about horizontal lines. My lines make you look slim, very feminine, because I am always designing to make women look beautiful. I want to make women goddesses. So a lot of my energy goes into craft fairs where I sell my work. I want to meet customers and see their reactions, and I want to explain my clothing. My dresses need attention to sell, and they get attention when they’re on.”




Robin Updike
Robin Updike is an arts writer in Seattle, Washington, who never turns down a chance to visit New York. Earlier this year she tracked down clothing designer Selma Karaca in Karaca’s Bushwick studio. “Selma has a highly original design point of view and works like crazy to be a successful, one-woman design business,” says Updike. “Also, her clothes are fantastic.” On the same trip Updike spent a blustery, late winter afternoon daydreaming about outer space, thanks to a delightful exhibition at The Forbes Galleries called “Out of this World: Jewelry in the Space Age.” “Like any of the arts, jewelry design reflects contemporary culture and our continuing fascination with the heavens,” says Updike.




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