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TO JAN. 22, 2006
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The biggest label whore on M Street NW has nothing on a sultan from the Ottoman Empire. Sure, the newest Tiffany & Co. pendant dangles from her neck, she wouldn’t dare leave her luxury condo in any jeans other than Sevens, and even the ass of her sweatpants declares itself “Juicy.” But when a sultan stepped out, he rocked a kaftan (pictured) made of the finest fabrics, usually silk with fur lining. Even the thread was gold or silver. The kaftan in the entrance to the exhibition “Style and Status: Imperial Costumes From Ottoman Turkey” at the Sackler Gallery is one of the most stunning in the show. The ivory-and-crimson robe features floor-length sleeves and an all-over gold-thread shimmer. Matching pointy shoes made of velvet and leather complete the sumptuous outfit. And just as Miss M Street could identify a Louis Vuitton bag from across a room, a 16th-century Turk could identify the status of a kaftan-wearer by the robe’s bold patterns. Designers achieved drama through popular designs such as tulips, tiger stripes, and çintamani—three circles in a triangular formation with wavy lines on the sides. Though the exhibition’s textiles and lavish rugs provide enough appeal by themselves to make the trip to the Sackler worthwhile, learning about royal Ottoman society is a nice bonus. Check out the goods from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily, through Sunday, Jan. 22, at the Sackler Gallery, 1050 Independence Ave. SW. Free. (202) 633-4880.