Abdullah Öztoprak is known internationally for his extravagant fashion shows which have won several major awards in the fashion world. He himself chooses to pursue a reclusive existence far from the limelight. We were eager to know more about this talented designer and the man behind Abdullah Öztoprak from Gaziveren, so we met him at his holiday home in Alsancak for an insight into his lifestyle as a famous and prominent figure in cutting edge of the world of high couture designer fashion.
What is your relationship with Cyprus?
– I’m actually Turkish Cypriot. I was born in Gaziveren in the Lefke area and lived there until I finished school at Maarif College. My father took care of the farm and our orange groves and my mother was a housewife. After graduating, I went to the Middle East Technical University in Ankara, to study chemistry, where I attained a master’s degree in the subject. I actually lectured at the university in my spare time and I always travelled back to Cyprus for my vacations. My family has had investments here for a long time and I also have a tourism office here in Alsancak, so I’m here quite often. Even more since my father passed away.
What’s the first thing you do every morning?
– I always drink some water and read some prayers from memory, in order to get a good start to the day.
The last thing you do every night?
– The last thing I do every night is to connect to Facebook to communicate with my friends and fans; I do not use Facebook during the day on my mobile because I usually have meetings all day.
Which book would you recommend?
– Although I try to read a lot, the books from my childhood, by the author Kemalettin Tugcu are so far the only books that have left a long lasting impression on me. I always created scenes from them in my dreams and it’s like I still have them in my consciousness. They were often dramatic stories from urban areas with a certain psychological sense.
If you could just wear designer clothing, what brand would it be?
– As a man, unfortunately, I cannot choose one, but if I were a woman I would start with Galliano in my youth and finish with Chanel, which in recent years has shown strong evidence of quality, strength and dominance in the fashion world.
Describe the view from your office
– Outside my office I see a large pool, many green trees with oranges and flowers on some of them. A little further away I see towering mountains, a great Ottoman garden in summer which is furnished and decorated with textiles. And usually our dog Chance that thrives around the pool and green area.
Do you read the reviews of your shows?
– I try to read reviews of my shows to get an idea of the reception and then compare it with my own objective of the show. Then I can see if it worked or not and thank God, it has worked so far! I collect so much press material that I could later use it to wallpaper a large room full of advertisements, reviews and news about me and my shows.
Who did you look up to when you were growing up?
– When I was growing up I looked up to my father the most. After losing his mother when he was 5 years old, he became very close with his father and refused to even go to high school, but instead became responsible for the family business and farm. Although he did not have a higher education, he knew how to train alone in life. He was very brave during the years of war and I respect his courage and intelligence during that time. Even his modest behaviour, although he accomplished great deeds whilst defending his country, he never presented himself as a great hero.
What qualities do you look for in a friend?
– A friend of mine has to be such that if he or she has expectations from anyone, they must be ready to receive the same type of expectations back. You should be honest and like to work. Ideally also be aware of everything happening around them and be able to keep secrets.
What is your worst habit?
– Actually, I have no bad habits, ha-ha! Well I can probably sometimes have too much of an open mind. I give away Joker cards to people in my business only to discover that they consume all the opportunities the card provides without benefiting the business in any way. It makes me really upset and it makes it hard for me to trust people.
When did you last cry?
– The last time I cried properly was when my father passed away 4 years ago. But I should cry more, it is good for creativity.
If you got arrested, what would it be for?
– What a question! Ha-ha-ha… It would only be if someone in my family got into trouble and I had to solve it somehow and possibly for having done something for the good of my country’s future.
Are you a better singer or better dancer?
– I am definitely a better singer because I’m too shy to dance. Do not be surprised if you hear me sing in the near future. I have always said that I hope to create a CD with my songs to have as a memory, even if it is just a gift for my friends, ha-ha.
Can you tell us about your next project?
– My next project is actually divided into two parts. One is a TV show that will be the biggest live TV show so far in Cyprus. The second is a major theatrical fashion and art show at five different locations in Northern Cyprus and it will also be shown abroad. There will be large and varied crowd with many interesting surprises related to art.
Do you have any pets?
– I have a dog named Chance, an English Pointer. He is an important part of our family and really very special. We chose the name Chance because my daughter Strain won him in a festival in one of the villages here in Cyprus and we thought we had the chance to take care and be good parents to him.
Do you have any hobbies?
– I have hobbies, but I try to include them in my projects all the time… Like writing or making music.
The fashion show will premiere on May Day, stay tuned in to New Cyprus Magazine for more information.