It’s moments like these that make one resent the established fashion system and its self-referential discourse. Watching Georgian designer Datuna Sulikashvili’s spring-summer 2017 collection presented at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Tbilisi, my mind kept seesawing between Lagerfeld and Yamamoto. It was a nauseating mental exercise, but not because the garments fit the general aesthetic.
No one owns rough hems or black! The easily available frame of critical reference felt stifling. The Georgian designer’s work was decidedly unlike that of Carl or Yohji, but translating it to global audiences beyond the post-Soviet fashion circuit called for a common sign(s) language which was not readily forthcoming. It’s like…
The monochrome was deceiving like a night in the Caucasus Mountains. There are more shades to darkness in the folds and pleats of historical memory and personal desire. These looks were flawless: layers of transparency, rich textures, laconic cuts that left no room for speculation.
The matte white scarfs, kerchiefs and cuffs served as punctuation in a retelling of this epos, black like the fertile core of highland earth, heavy like the rainclouds passing over some dreamscape metropolis. Datuna’s story is rooted in myth. An undeniably wearable, at once comfortable and comforting myth.
If Georgia is the new fashion industry hothouse for talent like Gvasalia and Koma, Sulikashvili is part of the vanguard pack. Perhaps, it’s time to call things by their proper terms. It’s like… quintessentially Datuna.