IVANAhelsinki fashion brand correctly introduces itself as a Finnish art brand rather than fashion only.
Run by sisters Pirjo and Paola Ivana Suhonen the label was established in 1998 as an art-fashion-design fusion brand, where a piece is as much an art object as something very wearable.
Every single fashion piece is studio manufactured in Finland and every season comes with a new theme. The spring/summer 2010 collection is designated Leaving Circus. Whether leaving circus is meant to be a sidestep from the mainstream or simply a statement for the unique style of the brand, the entire presentation is, as always, highly suggestive. The styling for runways takes away a bit of focus from a line that has less graphic elements than some of the designer’s earlier collections.
The models’ stark make up is both picking up on Nordic melancholy and the sad eyes of the lonely circus clown. “There is only a thin line between being lonely and free,” is the final statement for the collection’s online film, which depicts a lone model and her imaginary horse on a road somewhere in the southwest.
Creations by the designer of the sister duo, Paola Ivana, feature moody Nordic design with a strong Slavic touch, reflecting the fact that Finland shares a long border and a common history with Russia. She works all the visuals herself, including artful videos on the brand’s Web site, which appropriately tell a story. According to sister Pirjo, who runs the operation, “Paola never reads fashion magazines, and she doesn’t care about trends. Trends come and trends go—my sister is more interested in stories.”
As the first Scandinavian design brand ever, IVANAhelsinki was accepted to the official “ON” cat walk show listing during the Paris Fashion Week as it was showing the fall/winter “ BirdRing” collection in 2008.
For more info, see www.ivanahelsinki.com
Scandinavian style in clothing in the U.S. is fast becoming synonymous with H&M, the Swedish based fashion giant. Needless to say, and as evidenced at the Scandinavian fashion events or shows, there are many other designers in all of Europe’s northernmost countries.
Scandinavia’s largest fashion event is just around the corner as we go to press—the trend-setting Danish capital is once again changing face to become a giant runway for trendy Nordic brands. Not one but two large fashion fairs are hosted in Copenhagen in February. That adds up to a heavy suitcase full of glossy brochures and some mighty sore feet if you are a buyer or serious fashionista.
CPH Vision presents several hundred of the trendiest independent designers from throughout the Nordic region in Øksnehallen, located just a few blocks from the central train station. During the same period, the much larger biannual Copenhagen International Fashion Fair (CIFF), is held in Bella Center. More info at www.ciff.dk