Amelia’s Magazine | R/H Label, fashion design from Finland: meet Hanna Riiheläinen and Emilia Hernesniemi

Hanna Riiheläinen and Emilia Hernesniemi RH Label
Hanna Riiheläinen and Emilia Hernesniemi of R/H Label.

I met Hanna Riiheläinen and Emilia Hernesniemi of R/H Label on my trip to Moscow, click where they came by train (very jealous) to pitch their brand to a panel of experts for feedback, website of which *ahem* I was one. The girls studied together for six years at the University of Art & Design Helsinki, and have forged a strong partnership which made them a delight to hang out with during my stay in Russia and I was utterly charmed by their playful style, for which they are the best ambassadors. In the first of two blog posts here’s a summary of what R/H Label are up to.

RH Label by Fawn Carr
RH Label by Fawn Carr.

R/H Label was named for a combination of the girls’ surnames, and was founded only last June in Helsinki after being in the planning for way longer, both girls having studied and worked in fashion at home and abroad after graduation – I actually met Emilia a few years ago when I borrowed clothes from Agency V, where she worked as a PR. Small world eh? They took this time in the industry to learn about the commercial sides of the business and analysed what they could do best when starting their own label: clever girls. It is no surprise that their designs perfectly encapsulate the Agency V aesthetic; playful, colourful, printed. All good things in my book!

RH Label by June Chanpoomidole
RH Label by June Chanpoomidole.

Whilst the Finnish design scene is strong on the international stage, the fashion scene is something new, and so for them indigenous inspiration comes from the likes of well known furniture designers Alvar Aalto and textiles supremo Marimekko who mainly produces textiles for the home. IVANNAhelsinki is one of the only major Finnish fashion designers to have a profile abroad, as well as Laitinen menswear which has a high profile in Milan and Paris.

Hanna Riiheläinen of R/H Label in Moscow
Hanna Riiheläinen of R/H Label in Moscow.

But now is an exciting time because there is a new generation of creatives coming through. Ones to check out include fashion photographer Susanna Majuri and Helsinki based illustrator Laura Laine. Emilia and Hanna work with creatives across lots of disciplines and are inspired by Finland’s location between the east and west – a place where different visual aesthetics easily meet and mingle. Functional solutions come over from Sweden, but there is plenty of rich decorative detail to play with from the eastern side.

RH Label SS 2011 blue dressRH Label SS 2011 jacket leggings dahlia
R/H Label S/S 2011.

RH Label SS 2011 by Michalis Christodoulou
R/H Label SS 2011 by Michalis Christodoulou.

S/S 2011 was R/H Label’s first commercial collection, inspired by Dolly Parton, Mickey Mouse, Black Magic and the Nordic Summer Sky. You don’t get much more fun than that! It features a mix of local reindeer leather and bamboo jersey and all the bespoke prints were digitally printed onto silk – they like to create every element of the collection. I particularly love the purple sky and dotty dahlia prints, and was thoroughly enamoured of their ceramic eyeball necklace, created in collaboration with a local ceramics studio.

RH Label AW 2011
R/H Label A/W 2011.

RH Label AW 2011 by Michalis ChristodoulouRH Label AW 2011 by Michalis Christodoulou
R/H Label AW 2011 by Michalis Christodoulou.

For A/W 2011 they were inspired by Dragons, Mountains, Acrobats and Vagabonds. Another rich inspirational mash up! Role models that helped to inspire the collection included the strong character of Stieg Larsson’s Lisbeth Salander, and Finnish author Sofi Oksanen. Lots of black is offset again with bright prints in louche easily wearable shapes.

RH Label AW 2011 coat
R/H Label A/W 2011

Production is mainly done in Tallinn, Estonia which is 80km away, but the reindeer bags are made in Helsinki and they are keen to do more with local materials. Interest in the collection has been quick and enthusiastic and as well as stocking at home in Finland they already have stockists in Berlin, Vienna and New York. Naturally Agency V has been looking after press, which is also going pretty darn well for such a new label.

RH Label AW 2011 jumpsuit
R/H Label A/W 2011

Now they just need to figure out a way to grow the brand organically whilst retaining their creative control… it’s all about achieving that balance, which is why they came to Moscow for advice. In my next blog Hanna and Emilia answer a few questions. In the meantime take a browse around the R/H Label website and R/H Label online shop. Let’s hope they find stockists in the UK soon.

Emilia Hernesniemi RH Label
Emilia Hernesniemi of R/H Label talking to Michael Salac of Blow PR.

Categories ,A/W 2011, ,Acrobats, ,Agency V, ,Alvar Aalto, ,berlin, ,Black Magic, ,Blow PR, ,ceramic, ,colourful, ,Dolly Parton, ,Dragons, ,Emilia Hernesniemi, ,Estonia, ,Eyeball Necklace, ,Fawn Carr, ,finland, ,FInnish, ,Helsinki, ,IVANNAhelsinki, ,June Chanpoomidole, ,Laitinen, ,Laura Laine, ,Lisbeth Salander, ,Marimekko, ,Michael Salac, ,Michalis Christodoulou, ,Mickey Mouse, ,Mountains, ,Nordic Summer Sky, ,pr, ,prints, ,R/H Label, ,Reindeer Leather, ,Riiheläinen, ,S/S 2011, ,Silk, ,Sofi Oksanen, ,Stieg Larsson, ,Susanna Majuri, ,Tallinn, ,University of Art & Design Helsinki, ,Vagabonds, ,Vienna, ,Womenswear

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Amelia’s Magazine | Book Review: Wearable Vintage Fashion by Jo Waterhouse and Clare Bridge

Wearable Vintage Fashion

A new spring title by Vivays Publishing, Wearable Vintage Fashion is written by the owners of Second Hand Rose, a vintage boutique in Worcester. Jo Waterhouse and Clare Bridge aim to provide readers with a visual reference point for any anyone interested in vintage fashion, focusing on easily attainable looks to suit a range of budgets.

Wearable Vintage Fashion
All photography by Caitlin Sinclair, page spreads courtesy of Vivays Publishing

Wearable Vintage Fashion

The book is helpfully divided up into fashion according to decades, using colour-coded sections that range from the 1920s to the 1980s. A one-page introduction to each decade gives context, discussing the impact of societal circumstances on fashion trends, and with some brief tips on recreating looks. For instance, the 1950s introduction covers the new youth culture and how it opened up a fashion market for a generation of young people with disposable income. It’s an approachable way of thinking about the socio-economic and practical considerations embedded in fashion.

Wearable Vintage Fashion

Day and eveningwear pages in each section are filled with selected items of clothing and accessories, alongside descriptive text outlining the classic shapes and textiles from each era. ‘Get the Look’ pages are places where old candid and street photographs are used as inspiration for creating on-the-page outfits and to describe common trends.

Wearable Vintage Fashion

The garments and accessories shown are incredible, with colourful, multi-textured and authentic pieces from each era featured alongside modern-day alternatives, for those that might not be able to access the real items. What lets the reading experience down however is the way garments are laid out in a collage format -without mannequins or models (or in some cases, ironing) the pieces can’t be displayed to full effect, which is a shame given how precious some of them are.

Wearable Vintage Fashion

Wearable Vintage Fashion

Later on in each chapter are ‘Icons’ pages, where the authors interpret a signature look from the decade, for example, Farrah Fawcett from the 1970s. While the intentions here are admirable – to easily recreate a look for a party or event – the styling and images aren’t of a high enough quality to appeal in a book format. It’s difficult to tread the line between a do-it-yourself guide and a higher-end coffee table book, but in this case the extraordinary subject matter warranted that closer attention be paid to the visual design.

Wearable Vintage Fashion

Wearable Vintage Fashion

More appealing are the look books, where double page spreads show the full breadth of a fashion decade including day and eveningwear. I adored the 1940s spreads in particular, with pale knitted cardigans, a sweet pink bakelite elephant brooch and an original Pendleton ‘49er’ tartan jacket.

Wearable Vintage Fashion

Wearable Vintage Fashion

The final part of the book is ‘Vintage Street Fashion’ where the authors document how various fashion bloggers and enthusiasts wear vintage clothing on a day-to-day basis. As with previous sections, the styling and quality of the images varies dramatically and appears visually inconsistent, but if you can ignore this, the insight into the lives of these women and their relationship with certain vintage pieces is worth the read.

Wearable Vintage Fashion

Wearable Vintage Fashion is by Jo Waterhouse and Clare Bridge, and published by Vivays Publishing.

Categories ,Bloggers, ,Book Review, ,Clare Bridge, ,Daywear, ,Evening Wear, ,Farrah Fawcett, ,fashion, ,Jo Waterhouse, ,Second Hand Rose, ,Street Fashion, ,styling, ,vintage, ,Vivays Publishing, ,Wearable Vintage Fashion

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Amelia’s Magazine | A Review of 50 Fabulous Frocks at the Fashion Museum, Bath

Fashion Museum, Bath, 50FF Review
Illustration of 1900s champagne fancy dress costume, unknown maker, by Freddy Thorn.

Like any good birthday bash, it begins with champagne; a bottle of 1904 Veuve Clicquot to be exact, taking the form of an elaborate Edwardian fancy dress ensemble.

Recently listed by CNN as one of the top ten fashion museums in the world, Bath’s Fashion Museum has come a long way since its creation by Doris Langley Moore and the Bath City Council in 1963. This is a varied exhibition, featuring 50 of the fashion museums ‘greatest hits’ with dresses spanning across the ages, from one of the oldest dresses in any UK museum (a 1660 piece affectionately known as the ‘Silver Tissue Dress’) to a fresh-off-the-catwalk 2012 Louis Vuitton piece. Eveningwear sits comfortably by poolside attire, sportswear next to corsets; each dress a snapshot of fashion history.

5 dresses at 50 Fabulous Frocks exhibition, Fashion Museum, Bath
Illustration of 5 of the 50 dresses by May Van Milllingen.

There are plenty of ‘celebrity’ frocks here: a Christian Dior dress from the 1950s, a Chanel from the 1960s and a Jean-Paul Gaultier from the 1990s just a few of the gems in this collection. With dresses that have graced the pages of Vogue alongside cages and crinolines, these pieces form a dynamic exhibit exploring dresses across the centuries.

Black lace Rocha dress now part of 50 Fabulous Frocks Exhibition
Red lace Erdem Dress on Catwalk
Photos of red and navy lace Erdem and black Rocha dress by Chris Moore.

An ostrich feather 1960s Yves Saint Laurent concoction made for ballerina Margot Fonteyn catches my eye as does a Dame Vivienne Westwood regency style dress nestled among the kinds of dresses it’s emulating. A 1940s pink Mickey Mouse aertex dress sits next to a polka-dot housecoat lined with gingham and there’s even a wedding dress from the 1890s among the ranks. These clothes are famous; there’s a red mini dress worn by Ernestine Carter, a former Fashion Editor of The Sunday Times, as well as an Ossie Clark dress literally taken straight out of a David Hockney, Tate painting.

Dress by Poiret part of 50 Fabulous Frocks Exhibition.
Alexander McQueen dress from 50 Fabulous Frocks exhibition
50 Fabulous Frocks  cream silk dress
Photos of Poirot dress, Alexander McQueen dress and cream silk ball gown provided by Fashion Museum, Bath & North East Somerset Council.

I go to the exhibit twice, once with my friends on a sunny Saturday and we whizz through it in true tourist fashion (pun intentional) as I snap a few photos. We amble through the corsets and cages, pantsuits and Burberry raincoats, quickly and hungrily. We notice a group of young female museum-goers all wearing the same outfit in alternate colours, each one clad in a pair of converse paired with brightly coloured jeans. I note that in this exhibit, the tables have turned, and the dresses, behind the security of their glass cases, are the audience for our own catwalk as we prance back and forth.

3 dresses at Fashion Museum, Bath
A Vivienne Westwood dress (centre) alongside two dresses from the late 1800s, illustration by Karolina Burdon.

The second time I go by myself on a rainy Sunday and I listen to every single commentary for each dress, writing notes as I go. The other gallery-folk are, like the dresses, a melting pot: families with young children; a few fashion students drawing the dresses in their sketchbooks. Amongst the chatter I can hear loud, excited French. Thirty or so people come and go while I examine the collection.

Bath Fashion Museum, Georgian
Wall text at Fashion Museum, Bath
50 Fabulous Frocks Dresses Bath Fashion Museum
50 Fabulous Frocks
50FF Dresses, 50 Fabulous Frocks Dresses Bath Fashion Museum
50 Fabulous Frocks Exhibition, Fashion Museum, Bath
All photography by Jessica Cook.

While I sit on the floor sucking the end of my pen and agonising over the spelling of ‘Vuitton’, there is a mother and her two children in the museum providing an alternative narrative to the info handsets. “Mummy, what is it?” says child no1. The mother pauses for a second as though thrown off balance by the question, “It’s dresses from the last 50 years,” she says, which is wrong, and I feel the same wince I had as a kid when I first realised that parents aren’t infallible. The exhibition is a celebration that the Fashion Museum is 50 years young, but the dresses themselves span across the ages as far back as the 1600s. Her mistake is understandable, as the date underneath the sign does read 1963- 2013 after all.

50 FF 3 of 50 Fabulous Frocks, Fashion Museum
Red wool mini dress by André Courrèges, black Ossie Clark gown and 1930s evening dress, illustration by Gareth A Hopkins.

Wow!” says child no2 as he reaches a dress from the 1800s. “Isn’t it amazing?” says the mother, her eyes alight. “Just like mummy used to wear,” she says pointing at a short, red little number. The children press their faces against the glass as though they are looking into the past.

Woman in champagne dress
Photo of champagne bottle dress provided by Fashion Museum, Bath & North East Somerset Council.

The 50 Fabulous Frocks exhibition at the Fashion Museum, Bath is open from 2 February 2013 to the 31st December 2013. Entry is £2.

Categories ,50 Fabulous Frocks, ,Alexander McQueen, ,Bath, ,Bath City Council, ,Birthday, ,celebration, ,Champagne, ,Christian Dior, ,CNN, ,corset, ,David Hockney, ,Doris Langley Moore, ,Dresses, ,Edwardian, ,Erdem, ,Ernestine Carter, ,Eveningwear, ,exhibit, ,fashion, ,Fashion Museum, ,Freddy Thorn, ,Gareth A Hopkins, ,history, ,Jean Paul Gaultier, ,Karolina Burdon, ,Louis Vuitton, ,Margot Fonteyn, ,May van Millingen, ,Mickey Mouse, ,museum, ,Ossie Clark, ,Silver Tissue Dress, ,Tate, ,The Sunday Times, ,Veuve Clicquot, ,Vivienne Westwood, ,vogue, ,Wedding Dress, ,Yves Saint Laurent

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