Georgian-born creative Demna Gvasalia was named the Accessories Designer of the Year at the 2018 Fashion Awards in London on Monday, as his brand Vetements revealed its collection themed on contemporary history of Georgia.
The award-winning Creative Designer of Balenciaga was unveiled among the winners of the annual event at the Royal Albert Hall.
The prize was presented by model Edie Campbell and actor Riz Ahmed and collected by fashion editor Carine Roitfeld on behalf of Gvasalia, who vied for the award with his counterparts Alessandro Michele of Gucci, Miuccia Prada Prada, Maria Grazia Chiuri of Dior and Jonathan Anderson of Loewe.
The same day Gvasalia was announced winner for the annual prize, Vetements — a design collective co-founded by him alongside CEO Guram Gvasalia in 2014 — unveiled its Spring/Summer 2019 collection in Paris.
Held on a catwalk set up near the city’s Boulevard Périphérique, the show was centred around garments bearing symbolised fragments from the Georgian history of the past three decades.
Designs in the Vetements collection carried phrases and symbols pulled from the era of civil unrest and conflict of the 1990s in the country, where Gvasalia grew up before leaving Georgia.
I feel everybody today talks about war, refugees. And I am like, yes, I know exactly what that means. It's weird. This is about my life, but also it's about everything you see on CNN, as well," Gvasalia said in his comments on the theme of the show.
The label also used a photograph of barbed wire — in a nod to the ongoing occupation of two of Georgia’s regions that has followed the 2008 War between Russia and Georgia in the two provinces — in their announcement of the S/S 2019 collection.
Along with using symbols of the war-torn personal and national story, designs of the collection bear QR codes that can be scanned using a specifically developed mobile application. The scanning redirects users to articles on relevant cases of Georgian history.
The show itself was streamed live on IGTV, a new service of the social media platform Instagram, and involved 40 “street-cast” Georgian models.
Born in Sokhumi, the provincial capital of the now-occupied Georgian region of Abkhazia, Gvasalia moved abroad and later emerged with the “underground” collective Vetements he co-founded with his brother Guram.
As a major acknowledgement of the creative effect of the then-French-based group, he was appointed Creative Director of Balenciaga, a famed fashion house based in Paris, in 2015.
Since then Gvasalia was awarded the 2017 International Award of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) and International Ready-to-Wear Designer Award at the 2016 Fashion Awards. He was also named 2016 Person of the Year by The Business of Fashion magazine.