At the beginning of May, the third edition of MBFW Tbilisi took place in the capital of Georgia. On that occasion, buyers from prestigious shops such as La Rinascente, L’Eclaireur, Kabuki and Moda Operandi as well as fashion journalists and streetstyle photographers visited the mountainous city in the heart of the Caucasus to look out for new Georgian talents. Some talents have already grown to represent their country successfully.
For one it is Demna Gvasalia, Georgian designer of Balenciaga and the upcoming fashion label Vetements, who is presumably responsible for two developments in the fashion world these days: giving rise to the fashion hipster and initiating the pilgrimage of the international fashion scene to his native country Georgia.
Between Tbilisi and Paris: Sofia Tchkonia
The driving force behind the young event: Sofia Tchkonia, creative director of the MBFW and founder of „BENEXT“, an art and fashion foundation, that enables young creative minds to gain experience abroad. The Georgian born fashion expert spends her time between Georgia and Paris to give emerging talents from her home country the chance to present in front of an international audience. Among the guests: Diane Pernet, Hillary Alexander, Helmut Newton’s Muse Sylvia Gobbel and Hervé Leroux.
From Litkovkaya to Lalo
The fall-winter 2016 collections were presented in the city’s Museum of Modern Art and some other venues. It is difficult to trivialize the style of Georgian Fashion design. Some designers went into a céliniesk direction, whereas others may have paid tribute to Gvasalia or did their own thing.
To name just a few: The twin sisters Lalo and Nina Dolidze showed beautiful knit pieces all handmade in Georgia and the Ukrainian designer Litkovskaya presented a minimalistic collection. That one went straight on the wish list of many female guests.
Vetements, Gucci and hoodies
Compared to Fashion Weeks in Paris, New York and Milan there are similarities: Fashionistas are trying to grab the attention of street style photographers. Gucci mules and Vetement jeans are omnipresent.
Apart from that, Georgia’s biggest city has another vibe other than established fashion capitals: Tbilisi is a mystic place. But the city, which is located between the orient and the occident, is also full of contrasts. When walking trough the streets of Tbilisi, one may see towering skyscrapers from Soviet times and bold shiny buildings next to picturesque wooden houses that sit on top of the cliffs of the Kura river. You come across a mixed crowd of people such as Orthodox women, Caucasian beauties, who care for an avant-gardistic style, and rebellious teens dressed in hoodies. Georgian women appear smart and strong whereas men are shy, observing but friendly (– at least most of them). Only few people speak English, but you have free WIFI at every corner of the city.
A city in transformation
There maybe free (Tbilisi Loves You ) internet for everybody, but inhabitants don’t seem stressed and attached to their smartphones as other Western-european people normally are. Be it in the traditional restaurants or in the supermarkets – no one makes the impression to be in a rush. Tbilisi seems to be a slightly slumberous city. A city in transformation though: Many parts of Georgia’s capital are currently under construction. And maybe this „non settled“ environment gives rise to an interesting fashion– and electro scene. Not only prodigy Demna Gvsalia comes from that „fairyland“ as the Norwegian writer Knut Hamsun called it, also Muglers’ artistic director David Koma has his roots here.
Georgia on the radar
All eyes are on Georgia these days. Not only, when it comes to fashion. In 2018 Georgia will be the guest of honor of the „Frankfurt Book Fair“. This can be a chance to immerse in Georgian culture. Especially for those, who do not have the chance to visit the country soon!