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Paola Suhonen: My Helsinki

Paola Suhonen is creative director and founder of top Finnish fashion label Ivana Helsinki. In between presenting her latest collection at the Copenhagen and New York Fashion Weeks, studying cinematography in Los Angeles and editing her first feature film, she finds a moment to guide SHOP’s Ashlee Beard around Helsinki

City Guide
Ashlee Beard,

Where do you live?
Until recently I lived in Siltasaari in Helsinki, but I am currently living between New York and LA. I will definitely return to Finland, that’s for sure.

Where would you live if money were no object?
In Helsinki, somewhere where I could see the lighthouse of Harmaja, watch the seasons change and smell the sea.

Which are your favourite Helsinki stores?
Hakaniemen Kauppahalli, an indoor market selling fresh vegetables and bakery products; Stupido record store; and Ruuturouva on Fredrikinkatu for its vintage dresses.

And your favourite restaurants?
Tori on Punavuorenkatu, a great home-style restaurant that’s located near my old studio; Harrin Nakki on Agricolankatu, a really crummy hotdog and hamburger stand that also has vegetarian food and Seahorse on Kapteeninkatu, an old-school art scene hangout.

Which cafés and bars are best for socialising?
Café Bar 9 on Uudenmaakatu has been around since before retro bars were cool and also serves great food; Corona on Eerikinkatu as I always bump into someone I know and there’s a movie theatre downstairs; and Lost and Found on Annankatu.
My friends and I always vow not to end up there, but we always do!

Where do you take visitors?
Kallvik, a hidden beach in eastern Helsinki.

Where do you go on special occasions?
Kosmos on Kalevankatu has a great interior and excellent food.

Do you have a favourite Helsinki walk?
Many, I have a dog, so I’m often out walking. Helsinki is really safe and I love the night when I’m walking home from my studio and the bars have already closed and it’s empty everywhere.

What’s your favourite Helsinki landmark?
Puu-Vallila, an old neighbourhood dating back to the early 1900s with old wooden houses.

Which Finn do you most admire?
Aki Kaurismäki, he’s so charismatic. He chooses his own path and has great aesthetics and values.

What can’t you live without?
Huge love stories, roadtrips, my dog Affe and my family and loved ones.

Tell us a secret.
I actually don´t adore fashion at all. I think it is for idiots. It’s better to have your own cool, charismatic style. That rocks!



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