THE HIGH NORTH: Finnish fashion designers are adding more heat to Paris’ Indian summer. It’s an eclectic bunch presenting at the Pre-Helsinki showroom through Oct. 3.
“It’s so nice to be in Paris. In Finland fashion is not taken seriously. The press is only interested in the color trends for next season,” lamented Saara Lepokorpi, whose self-developed range of fabrics boasts a high level of originality. For spring, the young Finn found inspiration in “the artist’s studio and everything you might find there,” which resulted in a tote bag made from a gym matt, its surface imitating paint blots, and roomy coats that took cues from large-format business envelopes.
Channeling the Thirties’ Streamline Moderne was Laura Juslin. “It’s all about speed this season,” Juslin said of the line she designs for the up-and-coming Finnish luxury brand Siloa & Mook, best known for melding classic lines with rich, custom-made prints. This was most arresting on an A-line skirt whose silk-printed surface also sported fringy embroideries, now trending all over the catwalks.
Among the new names who joined the collective was Finsk, launched in 2004 by Finnish shoe designer Julia Lundsten. Her sculptural wooden heels were hand-painted in a delightful range of fluo shades. This season, Lundsten added rubber to the mix in collaboration with Finnish brand Nokian.
The platform is also featuring a group of young graduates from Helsinki’s prestigious Aalto University. Among the ones to watch are Elina Määttänen and her wildly fringed multimedia knits, Sophia Sälekari’s whimsical wood-and-fur tote bags (the result of a collaboration with artist Man Yau) and Rolf Ekroth, who came up with a jacquard weave incorporating mohair, a silver thread and cotton, providing intriguing texture to an oversized jumper.
“It takes one hour to produce 10 centimeters,” he explained. “And I made 10 meters of it – but I had help.”