In a vast hall at the trendy Cable Factory in Helsinki, Finland's top design school Aalto University presented the freshest new crop of fashion design talent from both their BA and MA programmes to an audience of over 1,000 people, including international press from Europe, Asia and America. A grand event with a champagne reception, hour-long show (complete with a sponsors ad break) and armfuls of prizes, 30 students selected by programme director Tuomas Laitinen presented their work. Undergraduate group projects and BA and MA graduate collections were shown alongside Aalto's alumni design duo of the moment, Hanne Jurmu and Anton Vartiainen, winners of the coveted Chloë Award at the 2016 Hyéres Festival.
From the blockbuster show, i-D select 10 of the best…
Anna Sarasoja, BA Graduate Collection
Raw edged denim and fine mesh panels are tied together with trailing straps to create dramatic jackets, dresses and trousers in white, scarlet red and putty, with shearling accents on collars and sliders.
Jussi-Pekka Ojala, Taneli Ukura, BA Menswear Project
A collaborative project from two undergraduate menswear students brought a troop of practical puritans. Black and unbleached cotton robes are ruched with wide straps and either buttoned-up to the neck, or left open over wide-cut, drawstring waist trousers with large utility pockets.
Luyi Liu, BA Graduate Collection
Luyi Liu's pop punk party dresses are created from a wide honeycomb mesh on sheer black or raw cotton with cut-and-paste patches of ye olde newsprint, declaring "Metal Warfare," lists of tour dates in European capital cities and "Horror" in Goosebumps-style dripping-goo font. Skirts are 3/4 length or full with huge floppy bows in matching fabrics and long trains.
Linda Kokkonen, Sini Saavala and Ellen Rajala, BA Menswear Project
A romantic, somewhat vampiric fantasy created by three collaborating undergraduates blended 70s silhouettes, cropped flares, flowing silk shirts and corudroy jackets with historic brocade prints, devoré velvet on leather and cut out appliqued lace on chiffon blouses and a long trench coat.
Julia Montin, BA Graduate Collection
Taking home the Diesel award for it's "rebel, punk irreverence," Julia Montin's collection made all our teenage emo fantasies come true. Innovatively crocheted dresses in red and maroon ombre with black pentagrams threaded on the chest and back are worn over deconstructed tartan print trousers. Long jersey dresses in black and red with sweatshirt sleeves are worn with knotted net overlays and accessorised with badges and sliced-off hoody hoods.
Maija Mero, BA Graduate Collection
Taking home the Finnair and Finavia award, undergradute Maija Mero presented a collection of never-ending ruffles. From huge satin dress coats to heavy silk babydoll dresses, flowing tinsel-chiffon shifts and a stunning dusty teal PVC mac, with stiff frills on the collar, hems and on pocket flaps.
Kasia Gorniak, MA Fashion Collection Project
Featherweight, sheer organza and crisp cotton mixed with rubberised fabric in Kasia Gorniak's MA collection of shirting, high-waist utility trousers with camping-style drawstrings and elastic straps, and artfully ruched jersey sweatshirts, worn with silver metallic windbreakers and springy ribbed knitwear.
Lucille Pialot, MA Fashion Collection Project
Claiming the award from iconic Finnish design house Marimekko, Lucille Pialot's MA collection has a craftwork sensibility and colourful 70s vibe. High-neck ruffle blouses and flowing floor-length dresses are styled under long, laser-cut leather coats with faux teddy fur panels and peach chiffon linings, belted waistcoats and knitted sweater vests.
Maria Korkeila, BA Graduate Collection
Maria Korkeila's 'tits top' won over an international judging panel including stylist Lotta Volkova, editors Dan Thawley and Lou Stoppard, designer Thomas Tait, Claire De Rouen Books director Lucy Moore and model Paul Hameline. Innovative knitwear and felting techniques were used on cut-out knitwear and chiffon sweaters, shaggy workwear jackets, shell-button covered trousers and a gold-flecked brown wool trenchcoat. The collection also claimed the Lodotex award.
Hanne Jurmu, Anton Vartiainen, Alumni and winners of the Chloë Prize at Hyéres Festival 2016
Returning to Helsinki for a lap of honour, Aalto alumni Hanne Jurmu and Anton Vartiainen recently won the prestigious Chloë Award at Hyéres Festival 2016. Their eco-conscious designs rely on found and recycled materials, with melon skins fashioned into hats and real pressed flowers glazed onto leather. Models wandered aimlessly down the runway, taking time to amble toward the front row mumbling to themselves and looking around as if taking in the beauty of nature.