See photos of unique 1989 fashion shoot at Tbilisi exhibition

A photograph involving a group of Georgians in the 1989 project by Brian Griffin and Rei Kawakubo. Photo from Brian Griffin., 02 Nov 2016 - 15:50, Tbilisi,Georgia

Photographs of an extraordinary project that brought together a famous global fashion label and Soviet Georgian citizens are coming to a special exhibition in Tbilisi tomorrow.

For five days starting November 3, the Zurab Tsereteli Museum of Modern Art in Georgia's capital will host a photographic and video display titled Mother Georgia, organised by Tbilisi-based Project ArtBeat.

The occasion will present to the public 12 photographs and a tape video captured by internationally recognised British photographer Brian Griffin in Georgia in 1989.

See a video of the 1989 Comme des Garcons photoshoot in Georgia below:

Griffin visited the country shortly before the collapse of the Soviet Union along with Japanese fashion designer Rei Kawakubo in order to hold a special photoshoot featuring locals.

The project involved a group of Georgian peasants dressed in contemporary fashion garments designed at celebrated Japanese label Comme des Garcons, founded by Kawakubo.

Griffin and Kawakubo flew in from UK and Japan respectively and shot the campaign just 20 minutes outside the capital, on top of a hill near an Orthodox church. Styled by Kawakubo and photographed by Griffin, the team worked with local peasants and did not use any professional models."
Remembered as Kawakubo’s all-time favourite story ever done for Six magazine, the photoshoot resurfaced and was featured in Dazed magazine almost 25 years later and since then has reached bigger audiences, particularly in now independent Georgia and its flourishing fashion and art scene," said Project ArtBeat's preview for the exhibition.

A portrait of a young Georgian local made during the 1989 photoshoot. Photo by Brian Griffin.

The portraits of the locals were captured by Griffin with the idea of blending designs by Comme des Garcons with national costumes of the subjects.

See the feature story on the 1989 photoshoot on the website of Dazed magazine.

Griffin later also photographed the iconic Tbilisi statue of Mother Georgia, with the photograph becoming "central to the story" of the 1989 project involving him and Kawakubo with Georgian locals.

This photograph will be turned into a pass to the exhibition, with organisers asking visitors to print out the image and present it at the entrance of the Museum of Modern Art.

The exhibition Mother Georgia will be held within the frame of Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Tbilisi and will see Griffin sign posters for visitors at the opening show on Thursday.

Locals photographed during the Comme des Garcons project in Georgia in 1989. Photo by Brian Griffin.

Complementing the event, the British photographer also held a special workshop in Tbilisi for photography enthusiasts earlier today. 

Born in England, Brian Griffin studied photography at Manchester Polytechnic (now known as Manchester Metropolitan University) from 1969-1972 and worked as freelance photographer in London since 1972.

Author of photo portraits of iconic artists including Kate Bush, Elvis Costello, Paul McCartney and Iggy Pop, Griffin was called "the photographer of the decade" by The Guardian newspaper in 1989.

Griffin has also worked as film director on TV commercials, music videos and short films and has published several books.

The exhibition Mother Georgia will run in Tbilisi through November 7.