There are pros and cons to having a sista in London. Pros: 1. You get to be escorted around the city during Fashion Week (with aid from a v. generous flatmate/LDN-orientation-expert). 2. You don’t spend inordinate amounts of time trying to decipher which eateries are worth it and those that aren’t. Cons: 1. You’re kipping on their couch so staying longer than two days could mean permanent spine damage. Ergo, 2. You miss the On/Off showcase to see menswear later during the week.
The one designer whose name I’d noted numerous times was Georgy Baratashvili. With a knack for fusing feminine draping with masculine tailoring and consolidating the effect with a quiet palette that’s also got this subtle vibrance, Baratashvili is surely one of London’s finest fashion-makers to watch.
What motivated you to choose menswear design?
Designing for men challenges you to be more creative in a smaller space.
Women would buy everything because they like the design, but men would think twice. They like clothes to be practical and comfortable as well as look great. Also, men don’t buy outrageous fashion so there are some borders to your creativity. I like a good challenge and love pushing the limits, so designing menswear seemed a perfect thing to do. Although my clothes are getting a lot of attention from women too, so I planning to start a womenswear line too.
Georgy Baratashvili SS10
Being of Georgian origin, and having been raised in Moscow, do you feel your Russian heritage informs your design? Are there aspects of your native culture which inspire you?
Russian heritage doesn’t inspire me so much at the moment, probably because I grew up in it and got used to it, but Russian culture is inside of me, so I believe it shows in my work one way or the other. As a natural explorer, I’m more fascinated by my Georgian culture and history because I am less familiar with it.
Georgy Baratashvili Aw09
Also, you danced professionally for 15 years, something which I feel is v. evident from your fluid construction and draping. Would you agree that your dancing past has inspired this?
I wouldn’t say my dancing past inspired draping in my design, but it is most certainly affecting my work. I don’t like clothes that restricts your movement. I like to move free even if I wear layers of clothes and this is a quality I apply to my personal wardrobe and my designs.
You’ve worked for Preen, having designed one-of pieces for their shop. Can you tell us a little about this collaboration?
I was an intern at Preen when I first met Justin and Thea, the design duo behind Preen. Designing one-of pieces was one of the projects they gave me. They trusted me and liked the quality of my work. When I finished my internship, they called me back to help with the new season. They are the nicest people, and I really enjoyed working with them.
You’ve also collaborated with Puma. Can you tell us about this process?
It happened when I was MA student at St. Martins in my 1st year. I won the Bursary award sponsored my Puma, and they produced the shoes I designed. They went on sale in all Puma concept stores around the world and were totally sold out with in few weeks. The year after I won it again, this time with a design of a luxury bag. It was great experience, and a good test to me as a designer to see if people around the world would like my work enough to buy it.
When designing, do you have a particular muse/source of inspiration in mind?
Yes, but I changes from collection to collection. I never know what will inspire me next time. It could be something that I love or am very interested in at the moment, or a collection of random things that caught my attention.
Your menswear seems entirely modern in its incorporation of some traditionally ‘womenswear’ features like sheer garments and elaborate draping. Do you feel the lines between menswear and womenswear are being blurred in the contemporary context?
Yes, absolutely. Women took over the man’s role in the society. They do the same jobs, often earning more money. They don’t need a strong shoulder to rely on anymore, and in reaction to that men became more liberated in their choices. Fashion is like a big mirror that reflects everything in the world. Wars, politics, social changes its all has massive impact on contemporary fashion.
That’s why we see pretty teenage boys wrapped in silk on the catwalks today, compared the to macho man of the 80’s.
What’s next for Georgy Baratashvili? Any interesting projects in the pipeline?
I don’t like talking about my future plans, you will wait to wait and see…