Irmelin DiCaprio was less than thrilled with her first batch of Titanic bath towels. Her son Leonardo was starring in what will probably emerge as the most expensive movie ever made, and she had turned to Cengizhan Karacuha and his family's Golden Needle Tailoring shop in Los Feliz to embroider 300 tokens of Leonardo's appreciation for an overtaxed, thoroughly waterlogged film crew. Embroidered only with the ship's name, Karacuha's prototypes, she felt, failed to evoke the grandeur of the luxurious ocean liner--to say nothing of director James Cameron's wide-screen opus.
"Something was missing," Karacuha admits.
Using a computer and a sumptuous illustrated history of the Titanic that DiCaprio gave him, the tailor reproduced the crest and billowing flag of the defunct White Star Line--the steamship company that operated the liner--and integrated them with his original design. During his reasearch, Karacuha, whose first name translates as "Genghis Khan," discovered he had a cultural affinity for those Titanic towels. "The Turkish bath was a big deal on the Titanic," he says, so he printed replicas of an actual ticket good for a dip in the ship's bath and tied it around each towel with a crimson ribbon. Now entirely pleased, DiCaprio delivered the favors to Leonardo's crew.