31 October to 4 November 201 saw Tbilisi host its 10th annual Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. For five days the Georgian capital showcased an exciting and innovative selection of designers, stylists, performers and artists through a series of catwalks, presentations and events. As part of #MBFWT, around 40 designers including emerging brands Aleksander Akhalkatsishvili, Aka Prodiashvili and George Keburia presented their S/S 20 collection to a host of local and international guests.
Taking place after the recent New York-London-Milan-Paris circuit, #MBFWT’s aim is to showcase exciting new talents whilst placing Tbilisi as an European city at the forefront of fashion. With alumni such as Demna Gvasalia of Balenciaga and Vetements, and womenswear designer David Koma, the former Soviet republic is well on its way to join the ranks alongside the big four.
To celebrate Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Tbilisi, SHOWstudio takes a look at some of the most exciting emerging designers to show their S/S 20 collections this year.
Set amongst an ornate art nouveau building, Akà Prodiàshvili's catwalk show saw models sashay under red lights to present the designer's namesake S/S 20 collection. Taking inspiration from the city's emerging and vibrant queer community, the collection featured Eighties-inspired formal wear including silk cummerbunds, oversized bows in bright fuchsia, marabou feather bustiers and elbow-length red gloves. With a background set consisting of rose petals and empty bottles of booze, it was only fitting that the models wore garish makeup reminiscent of drag queens à la Divine.
Looks of note: a black slip dress with a 'Miss Georgia' pageant sash, and an intentionally ill-fitting Marilyn Monroe-style white halter neck dress.
Founded in 2016, SITUATIONIST is a unisex clothing line by Irakli Rusadze that pays homage to his Georgian heritage. With a selection of sleek leather separates and tailoring, the brand has quickly found international fans and stockists including Browns Fashion and Net-a-Porter, making it one of the capital's most successful exports. Rusadze's interest in the political vs. personal experience of his post-Soviet nation is a common theme in all his collections, and this idea of dual identity is reinforced for S/S 20. Mixing strength with femininity, powerful tailoring is combined with natural materials and pleated accents. While this collection is less sexy than his previous fare, an open knit two-piece offers a daring take on an otherwise utilitarian focused line.
Looks of note: a tailored men's two-piece with cropped jacket and draped trousers in white, and a traditional Georgian-inspired ankle-length dress with cutouts and a khaki sheen.
Another brand offering a sleek look whilst blending femininity and masculinity is Tbilisi State Academy of Arts graduate Aleksander Akhalkatsishvili. For his collection this season, Akhalkatsishvili continues his love of leather (faux of course) to create a bright monochromatic offering. While the show featured a primary colour palette consisting of faux leather, the looks were more 'modern muse' than overwhelmingly garish, thanks to Akhalkatsishvili's use of strict lines and conservative silhouettes. Moments of lightness in the collection came through a sophisticated draped cut-out dress in burnt orange, and a pastel yellow cape bust maxi made of 100% cupro (a silky fabric reworked from reclaimed cotton)
Looks of note: the bold construction of a brown leather halter neck dress with a V-shaped waistline, and a side-tie wrap dress in burnt orange cupro.
GEORGE KEBURIA first rose to prominence in 2017 with the release of Nineties-inspired cat-eye sunglasses. The futuristic silhouette was worn by Rihanna and Solange and set GEORGE KEBURIA up as a brand to watch: this season's exaggerated silhouettes and Dynasty-inspired suits did not disappoint. Models donned oversized sunglasses and mullet wigs as they stood on podiums under a stained glass ceiling. GEORGE KEBURIA's S/S 20 collection saw the brand's now-signature Eighties coo in a range of longer-line blazers paired with matching skirts. The two-piece ensembles were worn buttoned up with prominent pearl buttons and large collars, whilst several skirts featured asymmetric hemlines or draped details. Colours included peach, black vinyl and bright pink, in silhouettes with exaggerated shapes. Whilst the suits may be reminiscent of Jackie O on the campaign trail, Keburia steered clear of frumpy with a fresh and eccentric aesthetic. Further adding to the campy nature of the show, the finale saw a glitter cannon spraying gold confetti over the audience.
Looks of note: a figure skater-style white Lycra draped dress with lace trim, and a long, pale lime double-breasted blazer complete with little gloves and a tortoiseshell leather mini bag.