Georgian-born brand LALO Cardigans is turning the definition of knitwear on its head thanks to creative director Lalo Dolidze's eccentrically inspired take on cold-weather dressing. Meticulously handcrafted by talented craftspeople in her home country of Georgia, each LALO dress, coat and cardigan is a work of art, with details ranging from sequins and feathers to patchwork on oversized silhouettes. A bold and refreshing reimagining of the standard woollen coat we reach for on chillier days, Lalo Dolidze is the peppy designer to jazz up your winter wardrobe. Packing just one of her pieces for a weekend away will transform the entire contents of your SUITCASE, while also signalling that you're ahead of the curve as the Georgian fashion is very much the one to watch right now.
Designer: Lalo Dolidze
Homebase: Tbilisi, Georgia
Type of brand: A womenswear brand focused on handcrafted knitwear.
How did you get into fashion?
I was always interested in knitting and did it as a hobby for years, but it was more than that; it was my genuine passion. The Vazi cardigan was the one that started the brand, and it remains one of our signatures today. I made the first one for myself and it caused a quite a stir - we launched and sold out in an unbelievably short time.
What drew you to knitting in particular?
Knitting is interesting because it has so many details and techniques. I think I was drawn to it because you can truly create any shape or ornament if you put your mind to it.
How does Georgia influence your designs?
The Vazi cardigan in particular was inspired by how vines and grapes grow and the shapes they create. Grapes are a very important fruit in Georgian culture and history as we have always been a wine-making country. A lot of my pieces are influenced by nature, its forms and colour palettes - in many cases, it's the nature found in Georgia.
Which designers influence you the most?
Coco Chanel, Phoebe Philo, Cristóbal Balenciaga.
Where do you source most of your materials?
Mostly in Georgia.
Talk us through the creative process.
It starts in my head, and that can happen anytime - anything I see around me can trigger an idea. When we start the process of creating it may take up to four weeks for each design. We try out different versions and varieties in order to achieve the perfect representation of what I had in mind. With knitwear, there are numerous details that can change everything.
What is your definition of "slow fashion"?
I think what I do is an example of "slow fashion". Every design we make is either entirely handmade or at has elements in the embroidery and knitwear. All our pieces are handcrafted in Georgia by local masters and take a long time to make. For me, slow fashion is of much higher quality and allows the designer to put uniqueness and originality into every piece of clothing and accessory.
Describe LALO in three words.
Singular, intricate, colourful.
Where do you shop for autumn and winter clothing?
Lalo Cardigans, Acne and Max Mara.
What should we do in Tbilisi?
When you're in Tbilisi you have to have lunch or dinner at Stamba Hotel and Keto & Kote.
Which LALO pieces are in your SUITCASE for a weekend break in Georgia?
I always need one of my woollen cardigans with me. It's such a versatile piece and it should be in every wardrobe. I love pairing it with the light, flowing dress to mix the textures and elevate the look. For me, it's perfect for a cozy evening with family or going out with friends during weekends.