Finnish designer Paola Suhonen describes her brand IvanaHelsinki as one that appeals to people who “love moonlit fields, pirates, dark forests, crummy motels, champagne states of drunkenness, fragile butterflies, passionate relationships, cowboys and guardian angels.”
Best known for the patterns and streetwise themes of her clothing bearing the IvanaHelsinki brand, talented and versatile Finnish designer Paola Suhonen sees her creation as more than just a fashion house – although fashion remains her main passion. The IvanaHelsinki collections exude a cool, folksy, slightly fragile and very Nordic style – an impression also conveyed in other IvanaHelsinki designs, from Finnish milk cartons to furniture.
“IvanaHelsinki has always been like an art house, doing different projects, using different materials, collaborating with different companies and artists,” Suhonen says.
Contrasts are the main ingredient in Finnish cultural life – like running from a hot sauna to an icy lake, we embrace them to the fullest.
IvanaHelsinki’s founder is on record as saying that “Fashion is for idiots” but the Helsinki-born designer, artist and film-maker is no fool. Paola Ivana Suhonen’s collections strike a commercially successful chord with their expression of “eerie, hovering isolation and intense starkness”.
Dress to impress
A dress from IvanaHelsinki’s Indian Summer collection. Suhonen aims to evoke “moonlit fields, pirates, dark forests, crummy motels, champagne states of drunkenness, fragile butterflies, passionate relationships, cowboys and guardian angels.”
Playful clothes are a serious business
Headwear from the Indian Summer collection suggests that playful clothes are a serious business. IvanaHelsinki is the only Scandinavian women’s brand to be accepted for the official Paris Fashion Week “IN” Show calendar.
Promotion from the movies
IvanaHelsinki collections, such as Velvet Lake, are promoted by Paola Suhonen’s own short movies. Her directing talents are also channelled into music videos, the latest being a project with American musician Chip Taylor for his single “Nothin’ (I suppose)”.
Inspiration from the elements of homeland
Suhonen’s Collections, such as Velvet Lake, may be inspired by the elements of their designer’s homeland, but their appeal is international. IvanaHelsinki has been featured in magazines from Greece to Russia and from the USA to Japan.