The foundations of Irakli Nassidze’s art lie in the physical and mythological landscapes of his native Georgia, where the Caucasus Mountains tumble down to the Black Sea and borders blur between Europe and Asia. Irakli was born in the capital, Tbilisi, a city at the crossroads of ancient Persian and Ottoman empires
and straddling the ancient Silk Road. His grandmother was from the Georgian aristocracy,
and it was at her home in the Colchis – a primordial region rumored to be the land of the Amazons,
the Kingdom of Medea and where the Argonauts sought the Golden Fleece – that his early artistic education was formed. She spoke French to Irakli from an early age
and he still holds a firm memory of her
“elegant silhouette, draped in a delicate shawl,
with a cigarette holder dangling from her fingers…”
To him she embodied the exoticism of an enduring Parisian chic, and she instilled in him a fascination
for French culture which he would carry into his teenage years and beyond.
Since early childhood Irakli drew, draped and dreamt sketches and designs. He entered the Academy
of Fine Arts in Tbilisi at 16 and graduated with an ardent desire to bring his artistic vision
and love of painting to the world of fashion. Still in the thrall of French literature,
music and art, this made his move Paris inevitable:
“Paris seemed to me to be high-speed train,
and I had to leap aboard.”
His remarkable talent and unusual artwork caught the eyes of professionals across Paris
and soon he was creating textiles for leading couture houses.
Experimenting with imaginative blends of collage, embroidery and traditional knits, he worked
for Christian Lacroix and Jean-Louis Scherrer and later collaborated
on collections with Dior, Chanel and Chopard.
The development of the original technique that he named
Chant d’oiseau (Birdsong)
allowed him to create unique and highly emotive textiles and made his name in fashion circles.
He also became known for his mastery of freehand painting, using his own textiles and designs as a canvas.
In 2002 Irakli Nassidze was recommended to the French Haute Couture Union by the master embroiderer Francois Lesage. At his inaugural show he presented a daring and self-assured Couture collection
at the Palais Galleria, the Paris Museum of Fashion. That year he also made his mark on history by becoming
the first Georgian to show at Haute Couture Paris Fashion Week.
A strong personal artistry and technique had emerged, and he named his signature couture style
Art Cousu (Sewn Art).
Based upon a sophisticated marriage of intuition and technique, Irakli weaves his personal experiences, sensuality and spirit into the creation of his original textiles. They take on an identity of their own,
standing independently as works of art and are used to form the heart of his Art Cousu Couture. The pieces are embellished with anything from modest beading and detailing to extravagant and unexpected references: stained glass, metalwork, architecture, motifs of birds and beasts. The intricate knits of the fabrics and complex construction of the designs hold an artistic integrity synonymous with Irakli’s work.
The next challenge for Irakli was to create a distinctive ready-to-wear line
and in 2011 he launched the brand I R A K L I.
Bringing together both his couturier instincts and artistic vision has led to working with materials that can be manipulated and from which he can coax life and personality.
Ready-to-wear provides the perfect channel; he is able to design every detail and work his artistry
into the fabrics themselves, allowing them to speak boldly of the brand’s unique heritage.
The style of I R A K L I ready-to-wear is based on perfect proportion,
modern cuts and the utmost attention to quality and subtle detail.