Dear Shaded Viewers,
I want to take you to discover some other things that I was able to see when I was in Georgia. It took a while to do all the research but here is what I’ve discovered thanks to Sofia Thckonia, the organizer of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week.
SAMOSELI PIRVELI (first picture showing also the participation of Bryan Boy and Natalie Joos)
As the old saying goes, everything new is a well-forgotten oldie. This is the motto of ‘Samoseli Pirveli’ founders, the people who are desperately in love with everything national and Georgian. They believe that the uniqueness of a nation lies not in the quality of adopting something foreign but rather in cherishing your own traditional merits and treasures. If earlier it used to be only associated with Georgian National dancers, preserved as stage costumes, recently national dresses seem to be gradually becoming fashionable in weddings and other festive events too. The attire that used to be the everyday garments for a century-old Georgian seems to be more or less regaining its cultural significance. They are bringing the old tradition into a conversation, making a room for a contemporary version of their traditional clothing. The name Samoseli Pirveli (meaning First Garment) comes from the Bible, namely, from the passage about the insatiable son. Old Georgians used to wear Chokhas, the typical coat/dress that reminds of a monk suit founders are great admirers of the Georgian culture – businessman Levan Vasadze and a friend of his Luarsab Togonidze. They offered us an incredible dinner while we were there, we felt really Georgian, drinking and trying to sing like locals do.
KETI CHKHIKVADZE (stripes dresses series and the designer herself)
Stripes meet white & gothic black. Keti is an experienced Georgian designer who decided to open her atelier/store in the center of Tbilisi. Her collections are sold in Almaty, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Qatar, Kuwait and Paris, in the amazing Les Suites boutique in Paris, the boutique that combines high-end ready-to-wear from around the world with couture services 24/7.Les Suites is the brainchild of Ukrainian-born Eka Iukuridze, who was exposed to couture at an early age thanks to her Georgian parents, who are in the wine and spirits industry. Simple, minimalistic geometry transformed into fashion- The Woman of Keti Chkhikvadze in Spring-Summer 2016 will be wearing nothing but stripes. The shape will change all the all the time but stripes will remain- whether horizontal or vertical, long or thin. The palette of colors is simple: white, monochromatic blue, violet and beige. Head to toe white dresses are also included- in 70`s boho style, as well as in midi length. Keti Chkhikvadze is one of the Georgian designers who is also well known abroad- after graduating from Tbilisi State Academy of Arts in 2001, Chkhikvadze moved to Kazakhstan and has been under the radar of the new talents to watch.
THE FLEA MARKET AT THE DRY BRIDGE
The Saturday flea market ("Dry Bridge Market") by the river (on the "Dry Overpass" and surrounding areas) is one of the best places to get jewellery, antiques and even antiques swords or memorabilia from the army, as well as musical instruments, electronics and old posters or maps. Haggling is encouraged, although if you speak little Georgian or Russian you may find Nana – the kind hearted old seller of the Dry Bridge Market (everybody knows her, just ask). This is if you want to have a real Georgian experience in the market, with a few interesting stories, local sweetest tangerines as gifts for a stranger from far away (meaning you) and an honest georgian smile. This market is also active on other days of the week, albeit on a smaller scale. Prices are very reasonable as well and you can find rarities and oddities, like the typical Georgian silver containers for glasses.
On the way back to our hotel in Freedom Square we stopped by a little books market on the street where I found a little treasure: a book of poems by Galaktion Tabidze Museum translated in Italian. Unfortunately I did not have time to visit the Galaktion Tabidze Museum, that is entirely dedicated to the work of this eminent Georgian poet, turned out after reading some pages that I have one more reason to go back and discover more of this intriguing country.
GEORGIAN NATIONAL BALLET
We went to see the rehearsal, it has been an incredible experience to discover a dance that takes inspiration from the classical dance moves but is totally new. The dance is very physical and includes fighting with a sword and a shield in a tantalizing crescendo of sync movements that leave you with no breath. The company of almost 60/70 dancers travel the world since 1945. It is the first professional state dance company in Georgia, founded by Iliko Sukhishvili and Nino Ramishvili in 1945, it was initially named as the Georgian State Dance Company. Thanks to this company the Georgian national dancing and music has become known in many parts of the world. The Georgian National Ballet has appeared at the Royal Albert Hall, The Coliseum, The Metropolitan Opera, Madison Square, and dozens of famous venues. In 1967, La Scala welcomed them – it is the first and the only time a folklore group was given a chance to perform there. The curtain was lifted 14 times, a record.
ART (paiting Margarita by Pirosmani)
We went to see the National Museum of Art to discover the work of Pirosmani, the most famous Georgian artist. Niko Pirosmani was a self educated artist that embraced the tecniques of primitive art. He lived all of his life in poverty, dedicating himself just to the art. He fell in love just once with a French Actress that visited Georgia in 1905. He dedicated a paiting to her and spent all of his money and sold many paitings just to buy her flowers after he saw her performing in Tbilisi. The legend of this true romance goes on till after Pirosmani’s death, when Margarita went to see an exhibition of his paintings in Paris and recalled her loyal lover.
Tbilisi is that city that loves you, just like the sign you’ll find at the airport says.
The paiting by Pirosmani is followed by the pictures of a new trendy shop called Chardin One, the spectacular restaurant Funicular, a night view of Tbilisi and an incredible secret house. Picture by Julien Boudet-Bleumode