Djaba, Mon Amour: Why Tbilisi Adores Diassamidze

You can take a couturier out of Paris, but you can’t take Paris out of a couturier. Djaba Diassamidze runs an atelier in the capital deluxe, but it’s his hometown of Tbilisi that has crowned him style lord and fashion savior for the glam set. Georgian women can’t get enough of his aesthetics, antics and own good looks. His latest spectacle at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Tbilisi showed everyone just why… [more after images]


Diassamidze fashions himself as a muse whisperer without the customary Pygmalion abrasiveness. He is there to tend to the women (and for the first time in his collections, men), to adjust and touch up. He is routinely theirs without making them by default his. This is why his shows are carried by a cast of Tbilisi’s it-girls from Georgia’s page-six families. This is how he incredulously packs a national theater, balconies included. This is what free Moet Champagne service at curtain call is about. Djaba means pure joy, and serious business. Are his garments ingenious? Not particularly. Is his artistry genuine? Absolutely! I have tremendous respect for designers from “emerging markets” who do not zero-in on selling at a nominal Colette, but instead cultivate a loyal domestic following (which in turn inevitably translates elsewhere). Diassamidze’s Parisian atelier is not an attempt at wishful export. Georgian-French bilateral relations have withstood a test of (Soviet) time: Paris hosted exiled Georgian government after the Bolshevik revolution swept the Caucasus. Diassamidze is a rightful cultural heir to that geopolitical lineage. I resolutely joined in the standing ovation and we-are-the-world singing at the end.  [more after the images]

In principle, I was also reminded of Jatin Varma. I wrote about this Indian couturier two years ago and that post still generates a healthy number of clicks from the subcontinent. It proves that consumers heart glamour done right by fashion artists with common cultural roots. Move over, Dior Inc., it’s time for Diassamidzes and Varmas of the world!



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