Recently, I came across the post about Brian Griffin’s photo shoot for Comme des Garçons, which took place right here in Tbilisi, back in 1989. The creative director Rei Kawakubo was beyond inspired by the paintings of Niko Pirosmani, gathered her crew and traveled over the world just to visit old Soviet city – Tbilisi.
“Rei was inspired by the clothing in Pirosmani’s paintings.” says Griffin.
Clothes in the photo shoot were absolutely unique, combining Georgian traditional pieces with materials from Comme des Garçons. Models were random villagers and a lot of them were wearing Chokha.
Now, 25 years later, with the help of the up-and-coming gallery Project ArtBeat, Griffin has returned to Georgia to exhibit the prints for the first time at Tbilisi’s Museum of Modern Art, a project which launched during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Tbilisi.
“Georgians are happy to see them. I obviously am delighted for their responses, all of the power of these images has happened because of time [past].” he says. In one of his interviews he described the trip to Georgia, where Rei’s crew, including Brian was under a strict surveillance. There were lots of meetings in the dark on street corners, and people were destroying statues of Stalin.
Now, the photographer is planning another Georgian project, similar to Kawakubo’s. He wants to take the clothes of Georgian designers and style them on locals throughout the country.
Couple days ago, when I first read the article on W Magazine about Rei Kawakubo’s visit in my hometown, which happened about 20 years ago, I was left absolutely surprised. Nowadays, whole fashion industry has all the attention towards Georgia, because of obvious innovations by Demna Gvasalia, but back in 1989 one of the most creative person’s interest towards Soviet country is remarkable, when nobody even had an idea where Georgia was!