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Interview with Queer Designer Lavan Chxeidze

Lavan Chxeidze unveiled his Queer experience in his debut Fall-Winter 18 collection , inspired by three main muses: androgynous aerial acrobat and 1920s female impersonator the great Barbette, German dancer and choreographer Harald Kreutzberg, and Sebastian Droste, a beautiful gender-bending poet, actor and dancer connected with the gay and underground subcultures of Berlin in the 1920s.

This collection titled the “Problem Child” is a statement and response to our current political landscape and the uncertainties it promotes – especially for LGBTQ rights. Lavan states” I wanted to create beautifully romantic and glamorous clothing that acts as my love letter to the community to promote vibrancy, gender fluidity and confidence in being freely different.

 

Words by Brandon Kafarela Images shot by Philipp Cherichenko

 

 Where are you from?

I am originally from Georgia (the country).

Tell us about your artistic background?

I returned to Georgia after high school because I was somewhat of a Problem Child in NYC, and studied Fine Arts at a Christian school I was sent to, which probably made me even more rebellious. I soon realized painting wasn’t for me. Being a painter was too much of a discipline, and I felt that there were too many rules. Eventually, I gravitated to fashion due to the idea that fashion allowed me to dwell in fantasy and possibility.

I also come from a family who collects art and appreciates craftsmanship. My grandmother collected vintage diamonds/jewelry. My grandfather was a painter and a metalsmith. My great-grandmother was a milliner and wig maker who worked with dancers at the local theater.

What is the name of this collection?

‘Problem Child’ and I would consider this my first official collection.

How were you trying to impact the audience with this collection?

I wanted to create something fun, romantic, and sexy. I wanted to break out with this collection and do something unconventional for NYFW. I wanted to avoid the cookie-cutter standards typically associated with fashion week. I wanted to cast diverse people and showcase my support of queer culture, animal rights, and sustainability.

 

How do you use fashion as a tool to express yourself?

I definitely use fashion as a political weapon and a way for me to build a world I feel safe in. Being a gay man in this world is scary. We are being abused and butchered all over the world, especially my home country, Georgia—officials come out of churches to stone gay people to death. Fashion is a way for me to build armor. To build a dimension where I can feel safe, beautiful, and create my own support team. I wanted to get into fashion to talk about important topics such as animal cruelty and sustainability.

How do you define “Vamp & Grunge Sensibility?”

When I think of my ideal “male” energy that I’m drawn too, I picture Lestat from Anne Rice’s book, Interview with a Vampire. When people ask me what I consider sexy, I envision these rock stars that carry masculinity, femininity, and animalistic energy with such confidence.

Short-term and Long-term goals?

I want people to know that I am starting my movement now. I want to bulldoze and twist all of these normalities of NYFW all while being as hard rock as possible. I feel my job here is to change the standards and allow new, fresh voices to be heard. In the meantime, I will continue to have intimate shows and produce work to the highest caliber as I grow.

Twilight or True Blood?

True Blood (The first two seasons)

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