A Fashion Editor's Guide to Tbilisi
David Gómez-Villamediana is a creative consultant and contributor fashion editor based in New York. He started his career in 2009 assisting Tabitha Simmons and has worked for international editions of Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar, also for brands like Longchamp and Delpozo.
About my visit to Tbilisi
Visiting Georgia has been on my mind for quite a time. Thanks to Demna Gvasalia and David Koma the country is now on the radar of fashion enthusiasts. There are so many creative ideas coming from Tbilisi that it makes everything more interesting. That’s exactly why I didn’t think twice when my friends Antonine Peduzzi and Luisa Orsini, designers of TL-180, invited me to go there for the launch of their first ready-to-wear collection during MBFW Tbilisi. It was a very exciting trip as I didn’t know exactly what to expect, but the magic happened from the moment I landed in Georgia. You can feel how the old and the new share a common space and how its people are not only open about travelers, but they are excited to show you around.
Where to stay
During my trip my first “home” was Fabrika, a former soviet sewing factory building transformed into one of the most vibrant urban spaces in Tbilisi. I stayed in one of the private suites (it was minimal and modern), but it also offers hostel options with shared rooms for those who like to socialize 24/7. Fabrika has a very unique vibe as it brings together international travelers and locals. There is huge patio with galleries, a bar and a restaurant.
After staying there, I tried Rooms, a boutique hotel (member of Design Hotels™) located just a few steps from Rustaveli. The vibe is more mature and elegant than Fabrika, but the service and attention is just as good. One of my favorite things at Rooms was the size of the shower, for me that’s one of the most important things when I choose a hotel. During my stay, breakfast became a ritual (of course, after a very long shower!), fresh fruits, local and international cuisine, delicious pastries and a healthy selection of juices made me want to start my day bright and early.
Fabrika: 8, Ninoshvili Street. Tbilisi, Georgia
Rooms Hotel: 14, Merab Kostava Street. Tbilisi, Georgia - Make your reservation here.
WHERE TO SHOP
Samoseli Pirveli is one of those truly unique places you could only find in Georgia. It is a small boutique that offers traditional inspired pieces (men’s and women’s) but with a modern touch. From capes to dresses and impeccable shirts and coats, everything is about quality and authenticity.
34, Irakli Abashidze Street. Tbilisi, Georgia.
Chaos is the ultimate shopping destination with a mix of local favorites like George Keburia, Nicolas Grigorian and Mashama, and international brands like J.W Anderson, Adam Selman and Maryam Nassir Zadeh. There is not any doubt this is the favorite hang out spot for the cool kids in Tbilisi. The space is also a gallery and -sometimes- a fashion venue.
14, Merab Kostava Street. Tbilisi, Georgia.
Desertirebis Bazari - Tbilisi’s Central Market is a must during any visit to the city. It is noisy, colorful, chaotic and full of delicious culinary options. There are so many curiosities around and once that you get fresh fruits, bread and cheese, you can sneak into the next area and look for crazy clothes, sunglasses and shoes.
Where to eat
Food in Georgia is always fresh and abundant. Wherever you go, most likely you will enjoy a great meal and drink a lot of wine. During my trip I couldn’t get enough Khachapuri, a traditional dish of cheese-filled bread, but everything else is also delicious.
Keto & Kote is one of my favorite places. It is located in a hill so the views of the city at night are quite lovely. You almost feel you are having dinner at a friend’s house. The food is a mix of international and traditional Georgian. Another cool spot is Lolita, located just across Rooms. It is perfect for drinks and classic American and international bites. Its patio has a very industrial atmosphere and it goes well with the raw spirit of the city. If you visit during spring and summer time, Moda Moda is one of the cutest places to go. It is a café with an outdoor patio and small boutique. It is located in a residential neighborhood so you won’t find it easily if you are just walking by the area. It is one of the few places in Tbilisi with vegetarian dishes.
Keto & Kote: 3, Mikheil Zandukeli Dead End, Tbilisi, Georgia
Lolita: 7, Chovelidze Street. Tbilisi, Georgia
Moda Moda: 64-66 Vasil Barnov Street. Tbilisi, Georgia.
There are not direct flights from New York to Georgia. So it is a long trip. I decided to connect in Istanbul considering it the layover was just an hour. Upon my arrival, I decided to explore the old town without any specific route. At first it can be slightly confusing, but once that you get a sense of the city it is easy to walk around. Taxis are inexpensive and they drivers are normally very open to negotiate your rate.
Tbilisi’s fashion scene is extremely vibrant and Fashion Week was the perfect excuse to see places you wouldn’t normally see as a tourist; like the monumental Tbilisi State University, where Djaba Diassamidze presented his show, Dalood’s venue at The Writer’s Houseor The Royal District Theater where TL-180 debuted their first rtw collection.
My Travel essentials
I tend to travel in the most minimal way and always with a carry on. A moleskine notebook, assorted pencil and crayons (I like to draw when I have free time), a cashmere sweater for long flights, Diptyque infused face oil for basic skincare and and a book.
It is a good idea to bring cash (small denomination bills) with you and always try to negotiate taxi rates.
If you are into fashion, I would highly recommend to connect with local designers, visit their ateliers and buy some of their pieces