From those tiny sunglasses seen on just about every celebrity to cover-rocking distressed denim outfits, Georgian designers have been setting major micro-trends lately. How big is Georgian fashion right now? Well, Tbilisi features two fashion weeks to accommodate its growing number of designers wanting to present to the international visiting crowds of press, buyers, and influencers. We start our series on emerging Georgian fashion industry with the 18th edition of Tbilisi Fashion Week.
Dedicated to the beloved 1960’s Georgian actress Bela Mirianashvili, the grand opening took place high above the city at the spectacular terraces of the Funicular restaurant. Guests were greeted by models in modest monochrome dresses evoking nostalgia for a bygone era of cinema and a slower pace of pre-digital life. Fashion week founder Tako Chkheidze spoke eloquently about art and fashion not as perpetually transient frenetic trends, but as cultural forces leaving a lasting influence. By choosing to dedicate the events to a style icon from a period of Soviet censorship and scarcity, organizers highlighted the creative spirit that has always prevailed in Georgia! Such an intro was perfect for the week’s agenda focused on eco fashion.
The spring-summer 2019 collections were presented at the Ghvinis Ubani, a former Wine Factory turned multifunctional arts space, with several noteworthy locations such as the Museum of Modern Art and Chaikana Bazar serving as additional stages. In place of the conventional catwalk the runway was converted in an attractive pasture of synthetic grass to highlight the theme: “We must take care of nature.” Designer Lasha Jokhadze opened the show with an unusual theatrical presentation of his sophisticated all-black evening wear collection. His models were arranged lying down and as the music started, they helped each other rise to their feet and walked around hand-in-hand.
Designer Tatia Korsava was a winner of the Tbilisi Fashion Week talent competition last season with a menswear debut inspired by medieval arts and neo-expressionist motifs in paintings by Merab Abramishvili. She made a strong highly-anticipated comeback with a post-apocalyptic collection reflecting modern ecological threats. Models wore protective trench coats, rubber suits, military jumpsuits and gas masks. Korsava playfully challenged gender norms, pairing ragged menswear with feminine glossy pleather waist-cinching bodices, bird-print silk blouses, and see-through mesh shirts.
Another gender-bending twist on proportions and silhouette came from the Russian brand 1377. It re-conceptualized menswear staples with inclusion of mixed textures and elements typically reserved for women or children: flower appliques, flowing capes, and lurex tights. Even the lapti¸ the quintessential Russian peasant tree bark shoes, felt authentic in this well-thought-out presentation.