White is the New Black: Svaneti

Dato Paparazziani: Here we are live, reporting from Etseri, up in the Caucasus mountains of Svaneti, Georgia... a likely location for news of the northern hemisphere's "high" fashion trends this winter. Debbie Lee, what can you offer from the catwalks of the season?

Debbie Lee: Dato, it's all about white hats at the moment; not their first ever appearance in this setting, but coming earlier this year, and whiter than ever. Look at this stunning piece on an outhouse, for example. So wide, so thick, so soft, especially on top! Though the underside does get pressed rather solid if there's enough pressure on it. In any case, it'll practically melt and slide off if you look at it sideways; delicacy is the whole point, really. Everyone's got them this December, especially roofs, although the fenceposts and trees tend to be a bit too impatient for such haute couture, and lose theirs all too quickly, especially if there's a strong or constant wind about.

Dato: Sort of a call back to ermine fur, then? Dotted with black flecks of certain unmentionable substances, would you say?

DL: Oh no, not this year: just the pure white. Warm as can be, good insulation, but apt also to get a bit heavy if allowed to build up enough, sometimes enough to damage or destroy the structure underneath. Which might be called a shame, but your dernier cri might as well be your last actual cry, n'est pas?

Dato: Er, indeed, indeed, I'm sure, or what's the point in having a dernier cri, I say! We've gone from "soft and delicate" to "potential to destroy underlying forms". Any other trends, Debbie Lee?

DL: They're rather stuck on this one thing, it's ubiquitous. Nothing else can compete with it. No other colors, other styles. I've rarely seen anything so monolithic! What's more, it may become THE annual trend for the winter months up here and in other cooler or higher parts of the world, global warming elsewhere or no. "THEY can get as hot as they like, red-orange-yellow, but we'll stick to our chaotically induced, average-busting cold weather and its associated pure white solid precipitations," people up here seem to be saying. Anything which stays still for long enough is fair game to have a solid white cap slapped onto it, Dato!

Dato: No other shades, even...?

DL: Well, funny thing is, now that you mention it and press me to the point, there's a trick of the light here, too. If you get the right amount of the white stuff, and filter strong enough sunlight though it, it turns from white to a rather terrifying shade of light blue, the seeming embodiment of all that's heart-freezingly cold, your last sight before the heat death of your personal universe. So, not as " white or nothing" as they say or would like. But you can't have everything, then, can you? This is more of a slight compromise with the laws of physics, unavoidable, really. They don't even like to mention it or make others aware of it, but for all that it persists in the right conditions.

Dato: Aha, see, I knew it! Thanks, Debbie Lee, for this very timely report, coming at us right between the Western and Eastern worlds' Christmases, which we wish all to be happy and peaceful!

DL: Thanks to you too, Dato, have a good one, and stay snow-cap free!

Tony Hanmer has lived in Georgia since 1999, in Svaneti since 2007, and been a weekly writer for GT since early 2011. He runs the “Svaneti Renaissance” Facebook group, now with over 1350 members, at www.facebook.com/groups/SvanetiRenaissance/

He and his wife also run their own guest house in Etseri:


Tony Hanmer

29 December 2016 19:27