Aalto Spring 2017 Ready-to-Wear Paris Fashion Week

Aalto Spring 2017 Ready-to-Wear Paris Fashion Week

Many a fashion mood board has boasted pictures of Kurt Cobain wearing a dress. Far, far fewer show him next to a Moomin, a Finnish cartoon character that looks like an amorphous manatee. For Aalto’s Spring collection, Tuomas Merikoski created an artisanal capsule inspired by Tove Jansson’s beloved comic series—particularly her 1977 book The Dangerous Journey. “I’ve been reading them a lot to my kids, and that story feels particularly relevant,” Merikoski said backstage. For the uninitiated, the tale follows Susanna, a young girl who is bored by her coddled and predictable existence and dreams herself into a less safe but ultimately more interesting life filled with the unknown.

Merikoski said the story’s moral is still instructive: “We need to welcome the new, to hope for the better, to allow young people to dream and to fantasize.” The capsule items kept that youthful free spirit in mind, and Merikoski explained that the pieces were meant to look like they might have been loved and modified by a teenager—provided that teenager had access to thousands of Swarovski crystals and an artist who was capable of hand-painting Jansson’s illustrations.

The Moomin-less portion of the proceedings gave way to a clean simplicity that Merikoski called a celebration of diversity and freedom. The best looks here were the loose-neck tea dresses in creamy ivory or burgundy velvet that sloped delicately over the clavicle. Practicality (technical waterproof silk-nylon jackets) met the more whimsical (bucket hats in cream-color leather and velvet, with pearls dangling from the brim). It was all about celebrating our differences. “We need that now more than ever,” Merikoski said. An important message—even for those loath to wear a cartoon character on their clothes.

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