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)