FASHION

Georgia On My Mind: Five Designers to Know from Tbilisi Fashion Week


Ever since relatively unknown Georgian designer Demna Gvasalia invited editors to a Vetements show in an old Paris leather bar and then took the reins at Balenciaga, all eyes have turned to the country and its post-Soviet style. Here, five designers that were the highlight of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Tbilisi.

1

BESSARION

If you like Vetements, you’ll love Bessarion. Launched by Bessarion Gvarmardze in 2009, the blend of sweatshirts, plaids, and florals are pure street style bait. The oversized button-downs are a must-have.

How did you get your start in fashion?

Since my childhood I knew what I wanted in life. My first serious step in fashion was my first job as a merchandiser at TSUM, then I worked for a company Aizel and then in 2009 I created my brand.

What ready-to-wear trends are you seeing among women right now?

Freedom in clothing, freedom to wear many colors and wear what you want.

What is the difference between Georgian and American clients?

I dream to get to America and get acquainted with American clients! My American dream!

Collage by Biel Parklee. Photos courtesy of designer.

2

ALEXANDER ARUTYUNOV

Founded in 2011, this collection featured a great pajama look, a killer denim parka, and up-to-there corseted boots for fall.

How did you get your start in fashion?

I was really very young. I think my first runway show was with my mother’s family dolls, which I transformed with new haircuts and clothes. My mum was in shock! And later my first dresses I did for my friends, who always needed something new and extraordinary for a party.

What was the experience like of getting your business off the ground?

I had moved to Moscow from Tbilisi when I was 20 years old. I was alone in the city. Every step was very hard, as I didn’t have anyone to lean on. Even now it’s hard for me to call what I’m doing now a business. I’m just small Russian brand. Funny story — I did several collections and no one noticed me until Instagram came into my life. One day Russian It girl Lena Perminova wore my t-shirt and tagged me. After that moment people started to be interested in my clothes. I really appreciate Lena for that.

What ready-to-wear trends are you seeing among women right now?

I like what’s going on now, because everything is fashion now. Every woman can be different every day. A lot of designers can work in different styles today and they will find their costumers. It’s great!

Collage by Biel Parklee. Photos courtesy of designer and Getty Images.

3

RIA KEBURIA

Keburia launched his namesake line in 2012, and for fall, the designer twisted traditional Georgian wear for a modern and avant-garde look.

How did you get your start in fashion?

I studied at IFA Paris, and after graduation I launched my collection. MBFW Russia sponsored me from the very beginning of my career.

What ready-to-wear trends are you seeing among women right now? I’m seeing sandals, trench coats, red lipstick, trends go and return. I never chase after them. I mostly predict trends by creating a global theme of the collection, whether it is forest, sport, baby or robot.

What is the main difference between Georgian and American clients?

I think Americans would be most interested in my brand because they are up for novelty and are able to see the message in each creation. If my brand were to develop further, I’d expand to America, as I think that Americans would be the first to understand my creative concept. Georgians appreciate ideas presented in my collections, but I can always feel the fear of adopting something new in Georgian culture. I think the culture is still too connected to Soviet-era influence.

Collage by Biel Parklee. Photos courtesy the designer and Getty Images.

4

ATELIER KIKALA

Founded in 2012 by Mamuka Kikalishvil, with Lado Bokuchava as creative director, fall 2016’s off-the-shoulder looks are sure to be runaway hits.

How did you get your start in fashion?

The brand was founded by a commercial photo agency called Kikala Studio, managed by creative director Lado Bokuchava. At the beginning, the atelier’s focus was to create clothing for Kikala Studio’s photo sessions, but from the first pieces, the clothing we designed became very covetable. All products of the brand are handmade. You can see many details and textures on the clothes — everything is done by hand.

What ready-to-wear trends are you seeing among women right now?

For me the trendiest things are sport and streetwear, metallic clothes, feminine slip dresses and the main detail that I adore is puff shoulders.

What is the difference between Georgian and American clients?

I think that American women prefer more feminine, colorful pieces. I think that American women will like the slip dresses, bomber jackets and oversize sporty T- shirts with bra detailing from our Fall/Winter 2016 collection.

Collage by Biel Parklee. Photos courtesy the designer.

5

LALO

Launched in 2013 by sisters Lalo and Nina Dolidze as a knitwear collection, the brand has since evolved into a full ready-to-wear line. Highlights from the Fall/Winter 2016 collection include cozy oversized plaid coats.

How did you get your start in fashion?

I always had the idea of creating knitwear pieces and even before the brand was established, I knitted sweaters and cardigans and wore them myself. After a while my sister and I decided to turn something that was more of a hobby into something bigger and more serious.

What ready-to-wear trends are you seeing among women right now?

Fashion has become very diverse, you can see all sorts of patterns and materials being used for ready-to-wear, and interesting combinations using velvet, leather and metallic fabrics.

What is the difference between Georgian and American clients?

I think that the main attraction to our brand in general is the fact that it is entirely handmade, and each item is unique which is a very important factor in high fashion. Compared to Georgian clients, I also think that the American market would appreciate the price, since it is relatively lower than similar items produced in the US.

Collage by Biel Parklee. Photos courtesy the designer.