Inside “Golden Opulence,” an Exhibition Showcasing Istanbul’s Lasting Influence on High Fashion


Istanbul, a city at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, recently played host to a grand celebration of fashion and cultural heritage. Beymen, a leading Turkish department store, marked its 50th anniversary with the unveiling of Golden Opulence, an extraordinary exhibition featuring unique pieces created by over 50 fashion designers and brands. The event took place in the Tophane-i Amire, a 15th-century Ottoman factory transformed into a culture and art center, providing a majestic backdrop for the showcase.

Istanbul’s Rich Cultural Heritage

Laurence Benaïm is a fashion historian who curated Golden Opulence, which takes its influence from the cosmopolitan nature of Istanbul as well as its long history of different cultures across the five-century period. Benaïm, speaking at a preview, referred to the city’s history as a mosaic.

Luxury is understood as a visual mix of cultural and artistic references in a cosmopolitan spirit relevant to the current era. Benaïm thinks that luxury is not only splendor but rather transmitting and educating, sort of like a radiant burst of beauty that illuminates the world.

A Fusion of Tradition and Modernity

The exhibition, a culmination of two years of meticulous planning, delves into historical research. Each designer and brand involved received comprehensive briefings, ensuring a deep understanding of Istanbul’s cultural nuances. Benaïm highlights the significance of reflection and documentation in the creative process, emphasizing that each creation is rooted in thoughtful consideration. For her, memory is an essential component for envisioning the future, and Golden Opulence serves as a testament to the belief that beauty, in all its forms, can be a powerful resistance—a luminous force that shapes and enlightens our world.


Istanbul, with its layered history and diverse cultural influences, becomes a source of inspiration for designers and brands, reaffirming the notion that true luxury transcends opulence, resonating as a timeless expression of beauty and cultural richness.