Posted by Stephan Moskovic | May 24th, 2016


Thanks to its maker Aalto has Finnish culture written into its genetics. That Finland is what frames Tuomas Merikoski’s perspective as a designer, now abroad, where he has put in time on house design teams for Givenchy and, presently, Louis Vuitton. Paris now serves as the backdrop to Merikoski’s own brand, and is where he attended the Institut Français de la Mode. Amongst all this mention of locality, he makes sure to note, “My creativity and culture is Finnish, that hasn’t changed. Paris and all my experiences has allowed me translating my Finnish DNA into an international point of view,” which he says, “is one essential element…being Finnish, but also being international.”

“My creativity and culture is Finnish, that hasn’t changed. Paris and all my experiences has allowed me translating my Finnish DNA into an international point of view”

He set out to show the Finnish culture he knew, a place with, “a strong cultural identity, a clash of influences, taboos and extremes that are the inspiration for Aalto’s DNA,” but is specific in the visual language he uses, saying it’s “from the real and raw stand point…relating a lot to the Finnish youth culture.” For his SS16 collection entitled “Endless Sun” that ambition took shape becoming a wearable clash of youthful abstractions and familiar raw materials. In terms of textiles: “Old traditional tailor cloths, classic fluid silks and satin cottons…treated with urban plastic prints and mixed with bubble “garbage bag” nylons and polypropylene knits.”

Only a handful of seasons in, Aalto is a seedling in an ever-shifting landscape. But, like the contraries he seeks utilizes in his design, that uncertainty and evolution Tuomas finds exciting, “A shift on the esthetics is happening right now and I also believe it will slowly redefine luxury and top level design.” But to reap the benefits of change, a brand must first be hardwearing–there, taking home the LVMH prize would provide pliancy. The money would be used, “to create a better structure for Aalto and being able to accelerate the new projects in the collections and art projects,” Tuomas says.

Above: Grace wears Aalto S/S 2016 and Doc Martens
Left: Adesuwa wears Aalto S/S 2016. Right: Grace wears Aalto F/W 2016 and Doc Martens, Jewelry Eddie Borgo

Presenting’s exclusive spotlight on each of the 8 finalists of the LVMH 2016 Young Fashion Designer Prize in anticipation of their final presentation at the Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris.

On June 16th, LVMH will announce the winner of their 2016 Young Fashion Designer Prize from a pool of 8 finalists – Aalto, Alyx, Brandon Maxwell, Facetasm, Koché, Vejas, Wales Bonner, and Y/Project. Started in November 2013, the prize was launched to champion standout talent and foster their labels. Winning means getting a seal of approval from a jury of fashion’s foremost designers and industry professionals like Nicolas Ghesquiere, Marc Jacobs, Riccardo Tisci, J.W. Anderson, Phoebe Philo, Karl Lagerfeld, and LVMH’s own Delphine Arnault. Aside from being recognized by the industry, the winner receives a 300,000 euro grant and a year’s worth of expert technical and financial support from the foundation. Of course, success in the industry for these designers isn’t dependent on winning, but it certainly sets the stage.

Photography by Steven Yatsko for
Stylist William Graper
Hair Joey George (The Wall Group)
Makeup Cyndle Komarovski (Honey Artists)
Manicurist Yukie Miyakawa
Producer Jazmin Alvarez

Art Direction Stephan Moskovic
Editors Irene Ojo-Felix & Steven Yatsko
Text by Steven Yatsko

Adesuwa Aighewi
Grace Elizabeth

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