This past month, I’ve been mostly watching football and curating my burgeoning collection of Ann Demeulemeester masterpieces. In other words, I managed to snatch a couple of past season goodies that had been loitering in my Yoox dreambox, at a very agreeable discount price.
As someone whose income doesn’t quite meet the requirements of her expensive taste, I’ve long since given up trying to buy on-trend pieces. Can’t really afford the designer garb and don’t really feel satisfied with high street knock-offs. Instead, I tend to look at my favourite designers’ collections trying to identify pieces that could become my wardrobe classics and try to get them later. Fortunately, my conception of must-have pieces seems to be a bit odd, so I usually get very lucky at sales and discount stores or second-hand shopping. Of course I’m still very much affected by trends, for instance this summer I want to wear trousers with floral or abstract prints and something that floats behind me, just like all the other cool kids in flower jeans or mullet skirt.
I fell in love with Demeulemeester’s hazy black-and-white print as soon as I saw the spring-summer 2010 collection. Now that I have these stove-pipe pyjama pants in black silk satin, I still don’t know whether the print is a bird or a flower, but I love love love it.
(If I ever get married, I’d love to do it in the long skirt from the same collection, white or black.)
The other thing I got is an off-white version in silk chiffon of this wrap-around thing from s-s 2011. It’s actually cut like a wrap mini skirt with a long asymmetrical side/back hem. I’ll probably wear it on top of a black dress or trousers, or peeking under a longer dress.
(catwalk pics from Style.com)
But enough about me, have you dolls been successful treasure hunting during the summer?
Soon after my post about the Aalto University’s fashion show – or NäytösXII – lamenting the lack of official catwalk pics of all the fabulousness the students had produced, the photographer Mikko Jylhä put up his shots. I was very impressed by the entire show, and only after a couple of days scrutinizing, able to pick my favourite designers/designer groups.
I’m still in love with the glittery, colourful, boyish good stuff produced by Elina Laitinen, Siiri Raasakka and Tiia Sirén. And no wonder – the trio has already won the prestigious Hyères Grand Prix this spring.
Another fave of mine was some of the menswear designed by Elisa Anttonen, Ella Berglund and Ida-Sofia Tuomisto. (On the whole, I found the menswear lines to be the more interesting – and definitely wearable by women as well. Is this Tuomas Laitinen‘s influence showing?)
Näytös XII jury awarded its 1500 euro prize to Anna-Mari Leppisaari. And deservedly so, Leppisaari’s designs are classicly cut (someone has studied the Balenciaga and Prada archives, non?) with fresh touches (the plastic panels, mix of fabrics).
On a personal style level, I’d love to wear anything by Sara Riikonen. Love the clean “60s by way of 90s” silhuettes. Riikonen just might be what all us working gals are waiting for – the young Finnish designer who can actually cut a wearable blazer!
Anna Alanko‘s colours and abstract florals are also something I’d love to wear.
Now it’s your turn, dear readers! Who are your favourite Näytös XII designers (students’s show or/and from the alumni)?
Last week, the fashion design students and four alumni of Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture put on an end of the school year show – and what a show it was!
(Unless otherwise mentioned, all photos by Meri Karhu/Pintaa)
This year, the graduate show was marketed as a part of an emerging “Helsinki Fashion Week” of sorts. For the first time, four Aalto University alumni, who already have their own lines out in the real world, were invited to show along students and graduates. And for the first time ever, the Finnish broadcasting company YLE showed the results on national tv and on the Internet!
The alumni show was cleverly curated by Tuomas Laitinen to showcase four different sides of current Finnish fashion: The fun, contemporary and commercial line by R/H, Sasu Kauppi‘s extravagant combinations of fine tailoring and exaggerated proportions, Ensaemble‘s attempts at mystical minimalism (not too far removed from a certain Belgian aesthetic), and the very unique “mad scientist” world of Saara Lepokorpi. If I had to pick one favourite, it’d be Saara’s work with its intricate forms and imaginative cuts that still somehow manages to be immensely wearable – or as the designer herself describes it, made for a modern day, female Andy Warhol. Luckily, I don’t have to.
(Photo of Saara Lepokorpi SS12 jacket, that I simply have to have.)
The televised alumni show featured commentary by two very sharp experts, Petra Koivisto and Minttu Vesala. In spite of the terribly over-excited hosts with zero fashion knowledge (and too many inserts of people giggling over a glass of bubbly), it was a decent effort. Let’s hope they keep growing this show into a veritable chance for the best Finnish labels to showcase themselves, also on national tv. And cut out the cocktail-hour crap.
The students show, however, was even more intriguing than the alumni. I didn’t make it to the show itself, but from what I’ve seen in other blogs and on tv, it was fabulous (and much more professional in every aspect than previous years). Congrats to all designers, stylists, models and the hair&makeup people!
For reasons unbeknownst to a mere mortal fashion fan/blogger/freelance JOURNALIST, there are no proper press photos of the student show available. UPDATE: You can see and share the official catwalk photos by Mikko Jylhä here!
After some pressure from fashion fan(atic)s, YLE kindly put even this part of show on their webpage. My friend Mikko, whose team of stylists were responsible for the amazing hair at the show, has fantastic backstage photos and videos on his blog, Pintaa.
The designers/groups featured were: Elina Laitinen, Siiri Raasakka, Tiia Siren *** Elina Laitinen, Siiri Raasakka *** Harri Niskanen *** Sara Riikonen *** Siru Juntunen *** Reeta Katto *** Elina Anttonen, Ella Berglund, Ida-Sofia Tuomisto *** Anna-Mari Leppisaari *** Maija Sallinen *** Essi Lehto *** Aura Kajaniemi, Vanamo Korell *** Taija Hiltunen, Mikaela Johansson, Olga Sjöroos *** Anna Alanko *** Hanne Jurmu *** Liisa Nieminen *** Annika Heikinheimo *** Laura Juslin *** Anton Hinkonen *** Hanna-Maaria Sinkkonen, Sophie-Louise Sälekari *** Satu Maaranen. (The list supplied by the inimitable fountain of fashion wisdom, Outi Pyy!)
I’d be hard pressed to pick a favourite amongst the individual designers or groups, but as you can see from the photos chosen, somehow I gravitate towards the colourful, decorative yet super functional, lovably boyish stuff by Laitinen-Raasakka-Sirén. (My inner 15-year old DUDE has once again raised his unkempt head, demanding a sequin cap)
All in all, the “first Finnish fashion week” left me with a feeling of an opportunity missed, yet still relentlessly hopeful for better days to come. Is this how it feels for Finnish ice hockey fans? (Picture from Sasu Kauppi’s ice hockey themed collection, photographed by the lovely, legendary Mikko Rasila)
I’ve come to realise that I make most of my fashion choices based on how things feel on my skin. My hypersensitivity/neurosis (a rose by any other name) guides me naturally towards flowing lines and soft fabrics. A touch of silk next to one’s skin has proven to be nature’s strongest antidepressant. To balance all this softness and flowy-ness, my feet are happiest encased in leather, with a tall heel underneath.
The neurotic fashion fan gets into trouble when it comes to accessorizing and jewellery. Forget belts, forget skinny scarves – both are suffocating. Forget any bag you can’t wear across your body – my hands and arms need to be free! All the time! (Hats and large scarves provide safety, as do big sunglasses, so they are ok – but never wear all three at the same time.)
As to jewellery, I can wear rings on all my fingers, but bracelets are a no-no – My arm looks and feels like it’s cut in half, you know? (What do you mean, you don’t?) I adore combining necklaces, pendants, chains and chokers – on someone else. On me, large necklaces feel heavy and bounce awkwardly on my chest and I hate seeing shiny bits when I look down. And the clinking sound they make! On the other hand, tiny, fragile, dainty pieces look a bit funny on someone emphatically not tiny and dainty.
Or so I thought before falling in love with a very special, tiny bit of oxidized silver (by Andromedii, at Etsy).
It has “random patterns on each of its wild yet soft triangular shape”.
Despite its shortish chain, it doesn’t choke me. The hollow pendant swings and sits beautifully on my collarbone – and I can play with it when stressed.
(All photos courtesy of Andromedii)
In short, I’ve found something to wear around my neck almost daily. It makes me feel a bit poetic, fragile even, and want to listen to this Sonic Youth song on repeat. What more could you ask from a piece of silver?
Our lovely, little Helsinki is currently the World Design Capital of the year. Design and designers are things our politicos love to brag about, but traditionally, they’ve been less than effective when it comes to real action. However, now it seems the time is right, and the WDC year has provided creatives, marketing people and the powers that be with the perfect excuse to get together and really get things done.
In other words, I’ve been flooded like never before with invitations to exhibitions, shows, pop-up shops, breakfasts, seminars, openings of an envelope, and other design and fashion themed happenings all spring. (I’m not complaining though, please keep them coming.)
The month of May has been extraordinarily busy, and this week we get to experience something that just might be the birth of a real Finnish Fashion Week. Local and international press and public are treated to an interesting programme, that culminates Friday with Aalto University’s new fashion designers’ show and the launch of the exciting SSAW magazine.
Helsinki Fashion Summit is part of a Nordic project to get the fashion industry movers & shakers collaborating. Tomorrow, we get to hear from successful designers*, buyers and other powerful people, and see a fashion show promoting up & coming Finnish and Scandinavian brands – eg. local stars, Minni f. Ronya.
Let’s hope all this fashion fun (and serious marketing endeavors) will continue for years to come! And let’s take the opportunity to post a picture of the wonderful Henrik Vibskov, one of tomorrow’s speakers (and one of my Imaginary Boyfriends).
(picture from A shaded view on fashion)
Like everyone else and their sister, I’m on Pinterest. You can see things that make me go “Ooh la-la” here – Whether they’re fashion, interior ideas, artsy stuff, or pretty boys.
Speaking of internet crushes, here’s my latest: Anya Ziourova (photographed here by The Streetfashion5xpro) has incredible style (the mix of prints!!! The mis-matched accessories!!!), naturally lovely face & hair – and she just looks like the kind of a cool girl I’d love to hang out with.
Super excited about dear old Marimekko’s new project Marimekko Proto.
Marimekko’s head of Fashion Design Noora Niinikoski got the great idea to invite four talented young designers to re-use some of the house’s wonderful left-over fabric. The results can be seen at Marikiska (on Uudenmaankatu), starting today. I’m heading for the launch party later on, can’t wait to get my hands on the actual clothes – especially after seeing this promo video by Miika Lommi!
The four designers are Riikka Buri, Yonna Moriya, Emmakaisa Soisalo and one of my favourites (as a fashion designer and a person) Elina Määttänen. Fabulous, darlings!
Right now I’m very much feeling prints – preferably mis-matched, thrown together, head-to-toe – and different shades of blue – with or without the prints. Looking at what some of my Finnish favourites have to offer, I fell in love with R/H‘s looks for spring. Especially the black and white abstract print.
And the green pants.
Blue for me is a “neutral” colour, like black, gray and some creamy beiges. As long as I remember, dressing in blue has made me feel safe, secure – and happy. At the moment, I want to mix different shades of blue together. I do have loads of blue in my wardrobe already, but there just might be a place for an aqua R/H maxi dress…
The designer duo R/H, Hanna Riiheläinen and Emilia Hernesniemi, are in my opinion the most interesting ones to watch in the current crop of Helsinki design darlings. Their clothes have a relaxed, easy thing going on, but at the same they are refreshingly grown-up for, you know, everyday wear. Last autumn I bought a sweater by them – with reindeer-skin shoulder puffs – that instantly became my go-to piece when I needed to look sharp and stylish – ie. every working day, and most party nights. (Even the prices are right.)
You can easily shop their stuff in Helsinki, just stroll into their own mini shop at Uudenmaankatu or the near-by Acolyth on Iso-Roobertinkatu. Out-of-towners should pay a visit at the R/H web shop and/or the Acolyth web store like, now. (All the stores that carry R/H listed here. Support your local dealer!)
One can’t have escaped noticing that for a few seasons now – or ever since (Etoile by) Isabel Marant became the nom du jour to drop in the blogging circles – it has been all about The Sweater. You know, the kind of almost anonymous, almost basic knitted tops in soft shades of gray or creamy beige, that you think you can find in a dusty corner of a thrift store or amongst your mum’s nineties “treasures”. But there’s always something a bit off with the originals – the cut too boxy, the sleeves too short, the neckline too tight – or they’ve been machine-washed into a hard, cotton armor. Or, they contain an unforgivable amount of acrylic fibres.
In short, the best designer sweaters remind me of something my skilled and elegant mother would’ve knitted and worn in 1991. Luckily, she’s still available and eager to work her magic with fine yarns and bambou needles. She gave me this pure merino sweater a couple of months ago and I have worn it almost daily. It feels as tender and warm as a mother’s embrace. I don’t think you could buy that even for designer prices…
As you can see from the evening sun in the photos, the spring is finally, definitely here, and I can contemplate wearing something less woolly. My mum’s already at work with some linen-cotton mixes. The summer looks promising.