A swimming-pool-turned-techno-club, flashing lights, thumping bass and a dance floor crying out to be conquered by resident cool cats. What sounds like a Berlin night out was actually one of the most anticipated shows of Mercedes Benz Tbilisi Fashion Week: Situationist. As models marched down the stairs, an almost aggressive mood permeated the dark hall as buyers, editors and influencers whipped out their phones in a frenzy for some on-the-spot Instagramming. And they weren’t to be disappointed, as an anarchic collection of oversized suits accentuated with corset-like belts, hefty trench coats, bright jumpsuits, flowing culottes and maxi waistcoats took the room by storm.
As models stomped down the runway, we received final proof that boxy jackets with big buttons are the epitome of cool for this season – just ask Pernille Teisbaek, who’s nailed the look already. Such outspoken outfits don’t need accessorising, and designer Irakli Rusadze completely forewent jewellery in favour of bold colours, buckles and belts.
This was Nineties grunge at its best, conveyed in unashamedly progressive pieces. Edgy was the name of the game, insisting that next spring we layer red on red and leather on leather – perhaps simultanesouly – to present our fiercest selves to the world. Tbilisi owes much of its reputation as an emerging fashion capital to Situationist, a self-proclaimed “underground” label which retains an Eastern European rawness despite gaining international traction.
Another local designer channelling cutting-edge minimalism was Tamuna Ingorokva, whose looks screamed “power”. How? Two words: patent leather. Whether it was low-waisted, cropped red trousers with a matching jacket or trench coats in black, white or metallic blue (with nothing underneath), the military-esque models were united by kitten heels and looked effortlessly chic despite their audacious get up. While leather was undoubtedly the designer’s calling card, Ingorokva’s sleeveless knit tops brought a soft touch and another dimension of local culture, as Georgia has a long history of high-quality knitwear.
The power-suit theme continued at Avtandil but this time with powdery palettes, including two blush-pink looks completed by industrial utility straps. The designer went for the more-is-more approach, presenting a wild mix of colours, patterns, materials and shapes. If you’re after layering inspiration, look no further.
Then there was Anouki, one of Georgia’s most successful fashion exports, which saw sparkles, flower prints, lace, stripes and polka take over a foliage-covered runway beneath an impressive glass cupola at the city’s Expo Plaza.
The experimental nature of Georgia’s fashion scene didn’t stop at the shows either. Eclectic looks were sported by the influencer elite (including some of our Scandi favourites) who decked themselves out with SS18 trends including bumbags, cat-eye shades and yet more oversized coats. Without a doubt one of the most exciting emerging style scenes of today, while Tbilisi’s designers embraced the underground movement of decades past, it’s clear that this city has emerged from the shackles of Soviet darkness and is flying high.