From Tbilisi With Love: An Interview with Lela Eloshvili

From Tbilisi With Love

An Interview with Lela Eloshvili of ELOSHI

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There’s a mystical place where hills roll, wine flows, and an alphabet that could pass as Elvish exists. It’s called Georgia, and alongside centuries of rich culture, it also boasts designer Lela Eloshvili.

I met with Eloshvili minutes after her LAFW debut and discussed her collection, ascent into LA Fashion Week, and the allure of the Georgian woman.

“It’s about Georgia, tradition, and how the Georgian woman wears Georgia. She’s self-confident and sexy. These outfits are a message from her.”

Georgian it most definitely was. While nodding to the country’s antiquity with costume buttons, puffed shoulders, and ruffles of romance, it also quite literally represented other facets of the culture. Vines of Georgian grapes, responsible for the sought-after old-world bottles swirled on cream-colored dresses while otherworldy symbols hung in empty spaces, luring in the untrained Western eye. The symbols were letters from the Georgian alphabet, evoking a mythical aesthetic to some and a pleasantly familiar, elementary feel to those fluent in the Kartvelian language.

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“Wine is very important in our culture; we love to entertain guests, and wherever you go you arrive with Georgian wine.”

The collection was a marriage of the simple pleasures that drive the Georgian culture. From wine to words, to the modernization of the chokha, Georgia’s national dress, the inspiration was loud on exquisite canvases. It spoke of beauty outside of apparel, of fashion as an extension of life. Needless to say, my mind wandered east where wine flowed and a way of life beckoned.

Despite a well-documented fashion week and the emittance of huge names such as Demna Gvasalia of Vetements and Balenciaga, Georgian-bred designers often bring to mind southern charm rather than eastern innovation. Eloshvili piqued both our sartorial and excursionist interests with a collection of elegant sensuality and fashion-forward diplomacy.

Cartwheeling into the room rather than slipping in, Eloshvili entered the conversation as a deserving sartorial ambassador. Her inspiration, an ode to her roots, was a bold statement rather than a touch of cultural nuance that’s easy on the eyes and easy to forget. It awakened a bright-eyed LA crowd, as montages of wine, rolling hills, and unfiltered beauty typically do.

 

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