Situationist: Constructivism in the Caucasus
This season’s Situationist collection video felt more like a work of fashion anthropology than a fashion lookbook; an absorbing look at Georgia, the homeland of the brand’s designer Irakli Rusadze.
A six-minute video – revealed on Tuesday, the second-day of the 10-day Paris Fashion Week – that opened with panning shots of a snowy forest completed with wizened old huts; followed by images of decayed Soviet architecture, crumbling statues and worn wooden inns.
Backed up by excellent deep beats music by Nika Machaidze, in a fashion film entitled Forbidden Family, directed by Davit Giorgadze and Salome Potskhverashvili.
Founded as a collective in 2016 in Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, Situationist has always attempted to reveal its country’s culture through fashion. It is not terribly clear where the video was shot, but it is important to remember that in the 2008 Russo-Georgian War, Russia bombed Tbilisi and annexed the nearby mountainous region of South Ossetia, located at the heart of the Caucasus, the juncture between Europe and Asia.
A first model appears in the village, a gent in a light green tracksuit; other figures await in shearling on the dried-out wood balconies; or struggle through huge snow drifts.
Rusadze is a strong colorist – like his violet terylene dressing gown/coats – and an inventive cutter - cleverly paneled trench coats; quadruple-lapel leather superhero jackets, or great triple-shoulder fighter-jet jumpsuits. Largely unisex looks, the collection is produced in-house and locally manufactured.
Eurasian models, at the meeting of the two great continents - laying down in deep snow drifts, others in red knit dresses and high heels get stuck in the snow. There is so much snow, even a trio of cows get bogged down.
Before a group of supremely proud-looking traditional dancers in black Choka coats with accordion pleats and daggers dance around a local moody beauty.
Ending up in a totally wrecked old bandstand with a huge mosaic of historic Georgian knights and warriors; before a final image of a tough older character in a post-modern gangster suit, taking a seat on a worn couch below an American flag as the Georgian national rugby team played a game on a dingy TV set.
As much an ethnographic vision of this designer’s culture as a fashion statement; a welcome addition to the French calendar; and another reason why Paris remains first among equals when it comes to creativity in fashion.
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