The French capital allows visitors to immerse themselves in fashion, art and culture. Galleries, museums, and boutiques representing cultures from across the globe have found their home in Paris, enchanting visitors for centuries.
Among the many Parisian galleries is La Maison de l’Ouzbékistan, a magnificent portal to the rich heritage of Uzbekistan founded by Uzbekistan-born Dr. Lola Tillyaeva. Once at the heart of the Silk Road, Uzbekistan is a fascinating country where diverse cultures have blended and enriched one another for thousands of years. Modern Uzbek culture is a true melting pot, with various influences from the East and the West intermingling through the trade of crafts, precious metals and textiles on the Silk Road.
La Maison de l’Ouzbékistan, a boutique gallery established by Dr. Lola Tillyaeva, curates exquisite collections of Uzbek crafts, home furnishings and clothes in a tasteful blend of ancient and modern. Born and raised in Uzbekistan, Lola has always been fascinated by the textures, motifs, and colors of her country’s traditional costumes and, later in life, found joy in discovering particularities of different patterns belonging to the regions of her homeland, as well as the history behind them.
Serving as the Uzbek ambassador to UNESCO for ten years, Lola became passionate about promoting Uzbek culture and traditions abroad. Bringing the culture of her homeland to a European audience is part of Lola’s commitment to helping new people discover Uzbekistan’s culture and history by learning about the country’s artisan traditions.
More Than a Boutique
It is with this larger goal in mind that Lola founded La Maison de l’Ouzbékistan. Standing on the famous Rue de Rivoli at the crossroads of Paris’s renowned Marais and Latin Quarter districts, La Maison really is more than just a boutique.
“La Maison de l’Ouzbékistan invites visitors to embrace the colorful and vibrant culture of Central Asia. Each delightfully hand-made craft carries its own fascinating story. The ceramics, furnishings and garments displayed in La Maison are the products of long-standing and cherished artisan traditions shared by skilful masters from generation to generation,” said Lola Tillyaeva (Till).
“Unfortunately, with the decline of some craftsmanship schools in Uzbekistan, we can lose the history of our ancestors. By enabling Western audiences to discover the history and culture of Central Asia, we at La Masion aim to nurture and strengthen our artisan traditions.”
Entering La Maison transports you to faraway lands – inspiring and breathtaking at the same time. The indoor architecture of the gallery is designed to bring Samarkand, Bukhara and other ancient cities of Central Asian closer to the visitor. As you enter, you are greeted by two exquisite wooden pillars. Hand-carved in Uzbekistan, these pillars are fashioned after the uprights that support the famous Juma Mosque prayer hall in the Uzbek city of Khiva. There is also a brick wall with an archway that separates two rooms of the gallery. The archway is covered by stunning hand-made blue tiles – reminiscent of the famous Samarkand tilework.
Every item in the gallery is displayed within its cultural context, allowing visitors to learn about the long and fascinating history of the hand-crafted ceramics, wooden crafts and Uzbek silks.
The silk of Uzbekistan is world-renowned and fascinating legends and symbolism surround the artistry of these famous textiles. Suzani – meaning embroidery – is a traditional fabric embroidered with silk threads. The other famous Uzbek silk fabric is ikat, or abr as it’s called in Uzbek, from the Persian word for “cloud”. Although ikat is considered to have emerged from multiple parts of the world at similar times, it is the Uzbek ikat that is considered as one of the most enchanting, with its vibrant colors and patterns.
Today, as more designers look for inspiration in different traditions of the world, we see ancient styles resurfacing and becoming part of new fashion trends. Uzbek silk and colorful fabrics are now featured on runway shows of major fashion houses such as Balenciaga and Oscar de la Renta.
La Maison also regularly features Uzbek artists, fashion designers, writers, and artisans– thus preserving the authenticity of Uzbek culture while also promoting the country’s artisans. In addition to displaying the best traditional hand-made ceramics, furnishings, and paintings, the gallery attracts fashion lovers who can discover the famous Uzbek silk garments featured in modern designs.
La Maison de l’Ouzbékistan only opened its doors in 2020, but it has truly made a place for itself in Paris – and for the culturally curious, the boutique should definitely be on your list of places to visit.
To learn more about La Maison, visit their website, Instagram @maisonouzbekistan or Facebook. For latest updates on Lola Tillyaeva (Till), visit her official website, or follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or LinkedIn.
Editor’s Note: This is a sponsored feature and all opinions herein are those of the guest author and institution.