Istanbul Part Deux

Being a VIP liaison isn’t just about going to lots of fabulous parties and hosting lots of fabulous parties, it’s also about doing a lot of admin.  A LOT.

Some might not find it necessary to do so much admin but I am a bit OCD, and I love a good list. So I spent several weeks prior to the fair putting together guest lists, managing the lists, responding to rsvps, chasing up my friends and then putting together a personalized programme for those attending.

No mean feat when you consider that I had a few hundred people on my list, and eventually tens of personal guests for whom to put together programmes.


With the admin (mostly) over, we started our week with the fair’s opening on the banks of the Golden Horn. The sun was shining and the water sparkling outside reflected incandescently inside the building, raising people’s spirits and lending a unique atmosphere to the interior.

My hat goes off to Fady Jameel, who I shoe horned into holding the inaugural dinner of the fair after the opening.

Fady, thank you! It was such a great party.

FADY JAMEEL HOUSEThe apartment has a spectacular 360degree view of Istanbul and is bursting with fabulous art. A Jaume Plensa sculpture dominates the downstairs entertaining area, and we showed a video by Shirazeh Houshiary on the six metre screen.

It was somewhat intimidating when I had 130 people rsvp yes to a party we had limited to 80. When 150 people walked through the doors of my friend’s private home I almost fainted.

Fady just got on with it in the most gracious way. Every time someone smashed a glass I winced, at one point five glasses smashed right next to him. Awkward. Fady himself however, didn’t even blink.

Therein is a valuable lesson: the less you care about glasses and guest lists, the better.

Lisson Gallery held a dinner party at the Sabanci Museum where we had a private tour of the Anish Kapoor exhibition there, it was a real eye opener seeing so many of his stone works, pieces that are often too expensive and logistically intimidating to exhibit.

ZILBERMAN DINNERCigdem Simavi was as ever the most gracious of hostesses, holding a lunch at the Rahmi Koc museum where we were served some deliciously light starters and a wickedly Ottoman main course of lamb wrapped in aubergine slices.

We had some amazing visits to private collections, thank you Tansa Memerci for opening your home to us. My favourite piece was the Mark Dion installation in her sitting room consisting of shelves of Roman pottery, glass and iron-ware on a bed of sand, and the Irvin Wurm standing man on the central table, with his empty hoody glowering menacingly at us as we entered the room. Brilliant.

Moiz Zilberman had a lovely cocktail party followed by a dinner at 360 that was a huge success, we ate sea bass and laughed a lot. I was also happy to see him exhibiting the work of Sukran Morale and Vale Export, two of Turkey’s most activist female artists.

Topping off the week was a wonderful party hosted by Zeineb and Ayhan Sicimoglu on behalf of Abu Dhabi Art Fair. What a fabulous night, with a buffet dinner under the light of the moon on the banks of the bosphorus. Although the moon and the Bosphorus were soon forgotten in favour of the band and the Bozouki player as they got the party going with some truly memorable jump up and boogy live music.

Maximum respect to everyone who took off their shoes and danced with me, you are all fabulous.


Tansa Memerci House duo


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