Swimming Against the Stream

Georgian Lessons Addendum #4: Fashion And Style

Dress Lamp

A mannequin lamp found at the Sukhishvili dance studio. Traditional Surrealism?

Well I thought I’d finished this Georgian series, but I realize that I had forgotten about my many observations on Georgian style and fashion. While traveling to Europe on this same journey I was struck by both the similarities and differences in Georgian street wear as well as traditional clothing. Tbilisi also has started to achieve something of a reputation in the fashion world in the last few years. I met photographer Mariam Sitchinava who gave me her somewhat bemused observations on the scene. But really it was just observing with my own two eyes that gave me much to ponder. (There will be many images in this Addendum because I didn’t feel like dividing it in two.)

Let’s start with traditional Georgian fashion.

Traditional georgian Dress

Unfortunately this is NOT something you see on the streets everyday. This was for a photo shoot. It does point something out, that traditional Georgian costumes are still being made!

Traditional Dress Sketch

A traditional gown in a sketch found at the theatre museum.

Traditional Dress Painting

There are several styles of Georgian traditional fashions, depending on the geographical location and tribal affiliation.

Pirosmani Actress

The respected artist Pirosmani portrays a Georgian dress at the National Museum.

Let’s look at a few older theatrical costumes, very much in traditional Georgian style, yet quite elaborate. These are all from the Georgian State Museum of Theatre, Music, Cinema and Choreography.Theatre TunicTheatre GownTheatre Dress

Now let’s observe the street and see what typical Georgians are actually wearing today. Obviously they are not living under a rock. European and American influences are to be found. Jeggings have arrived. As has the revival of the late 80’s ripped jeans, originally started by the Hippies, also adopted by the Punks. Later turned into acid/stone washed faded denim monstrosities of the late 80’s.

Denim Braid Girl

Her braids give this a a bit of panache that even the denim can’t kill.

More interesting are the mid-length coats, almost cloaks, that women wear. (It was March and April.) And then there is the Georgian color palette, which is unique. Black predominates. Followed by mono-toned gray through beige. With the only major color sticking out being red. It gave things a serious tone, unlike the rather frivolous feel of, say, a stroll through Times Square. Denim blue feels like a recent addition. And occasional other colors seep into various accessories.

Beige Cloak

I also appreciated the textures of these cloak-like coats.

Gray Cloak

Monotone and denim blues. (One bright patch of blue.)

Night Style

Tbilisi at night: This almost feels like some French scene in the from the mid-20th Century. Another aspect of the style I appreciated, the older women actually dressed like older women, not pretending to be 20 year old girls. 

Male Dancers

Male clothing styles are generally quite relaxed in daily life. These are dancers at the Sukhishvili dance studio. They give a good cross section of certain younger men’s attire. Note the color palette.

Dancing Girl Quartet

A quartet of dancers at the Sukhishvili dance studio. Again the color palette is monochrome. But the heels on the shoes are quite interesting here. And since they dance most of the time on the balls of their feet it makes sense. Some of the dancers also act as occasional fashion models.

Street Boutique

While there are a few fashion boutiques to be found in Tbilisi many clothes are sold from hole-in-the-wall operations like this one.

Bronze Woman Tentacle

Here was a statue I found at the theatre museum. Again quite stylish. And what is that odd headdress. Quite the hat with bells on octopus tentacles.

Statue Fashion

Finally these statues, a couple of dapper old world folk in their own fashionable garments. I particularly admire the dress, which is variation on a traditional theme from some point in the past.

I am sure that Georgia has much to teach and inspire in the future of fashion. Tbilisi is a place to keep your eyes on. Well I hope you enjoyed this little glimpse into Georgian culture. There was much more to say… but obviously this is enough for now.

Byrne Power

Haines, Alaska


One response

  1. Annette Keith

    Beautiful and not enough, should be in a magazine. Sorry to bother.

    July 4, 2017 at 12:32 AM

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