At any given time, there’s always a fashion week going on in some obscure corner of the world. This week, Tbilisi, Georgia is that place. And, surprisingly, some avid fashion followers are bound to be familiar with the Caucasus city.
Sure, the country’s main claim to fashion fame might be Demna Gvasaslia, the Georgian talent who created the boundary pushing Vetements label and is also putting his own off-kilter spin on high fashion at the helm of Balenciaga. The Observer is currently in Georgia for Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Tbilisi and our main focus is on the local designers that have turned this particular event into an international affair.
Editors, buyers, famous Instagrammers and photographers from all around the globe have flocked to the city, to take in fashion shows and soak up the culture of a country bordered by Russia, Turkey, Armenia and Azerbaijan. As photos from the destination find their way into your Instagram feed and are poted your favorite fashion websites, let’s take a look the people who have helped shape Tbilisi into the international fashion destination that it is today.
The Designers Are Experimental
For a designer to watch, keep an eye on George Keburia. Though his reflective rectangular sunglasses (which can be spotted on pretty young things across Tbilisi) and his voluminous pastel silhouettes might seem escapist, this young talent isn’t afraid to use the reality of Georgia’s past as his inspiration. For example, his Spring/Summer 2017 collection featured undertones from “the economic and political consequences of the Georgian civil wars in the 90s.” How’s that for a fashion history lesson?
Nino Babukhadia has become a go-to for cocktail garb that stands out among flutes of champagne and boring dresses. With a heavy influence on embroidery, beading and opulent fabrics, these are clothing for the modern women, whether she resides in Eastern Europe or on the Eastern Seaboard.
Looking for Tbilisi’s take on denim? Look no further than Dalood, a brand that garnishes their jeans with ebullient beaded embroideries and shapes the fabric into a frayed frock of perfection. Needlework has become a signature of the label, which got its start as a boutique in the area in 2013, but Dalood also offers a great example of prints that send local customers into a tizzy.
Intricately masked models, contained in a chicken wire cage, were rocking a dizzying mix of fabrics, patterns and shapes were the focus of Ria Keburia’s Fall/Winter 2017 presentation on the opening day of this season’s shows. As it turns out, only part of that garb was designed by Keburia; the rest is a hodgepodge mix of local Georgian brands, all of which was styled by the creative. Forever inspired by Japanese design, Keburia is your go-to for a look at how this country does avant-garde.
The “It” Girls Are Major Business Women
IndexFlat is a Moscow-based boutique that was founded by Anka Tsitsishvili, a native Georgian, who makes sure to stock her with many brands from her homeland. Including the conceptual clothing of the aforementioned Ria Keburia and the elaborate handmade enamel jewelry of Sophia Gongliashvili, this shop is a must-visit international stage for these designers.
Tsitsishvili herself has that kind of cool and laid-back style that can’t be easily emulated, but is definitely enviable.
Nino Eliava is a Georgian multi-hyphenate. Not only is she the co-founder of one of the country’s most popular handbag lines, 711, but she’s also a co-founder of More is Love. The e-commerce destination, stocked with local designers, is more or less a homegrown version of Net-a-Porter. Plus, her globetrotting Instagram posts make her a must-follow. Her partner in both ventures, Ana Mokia, is also a local “it” girl.
Keep an eye out a snap of the signature 711 bag, with a knit exterior and a wooden or acrylic frames.
More than just a stylish Instagrammer with a very strong following, Anouki Areshidze is also a designer. Known for overtly feminine designs, adorned with sweet beads and sequins, she opts for the pastel color palette that attracts millennials like flies. Further, Areshidze is married to Kakha Kaladz, a former footballer and current politician, making her a local celebrity.
Stay tuned this week, as the Observer offers even more reasons to follow Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Tbilisi.