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Helsinki Dresses: Dressing our Buildings

Anne Mustaras Presents her Dresses at the Finnish Institute

June 11th, 2015

Photographer: Saara Salmi

From May 7th, the Finnish Institute has been hosting the exhibit “Helsinki Dresses”. The artist, Anne Mustaras, a designer and stage costume maker, is presenting a series of dresses inspired by the architecture of her hometown, Helsinki.

The buildings of her city have inspired her characters, which span various styles and epochs, from medieval princesses to sci-fi heroines. Instead of seeing large, imposing buildings, Mustaras sees folds of eccentric dresses and shapely silhouettes of women. As well as her eight Helsinki costumes, the artist has also created a couple of Berlin dresses exclusively for this exhibition. She drew her inspiration from some of Berlin’s most interesting buildings. Will you be able to figure out which creation represents the House of Cultures, the Biersepel, or the Hamburger Bahnhof ? To help you, next to each dress is a picture of the building that inspired it, as well as a description of how the artist perceives it.

Discovering all the details that Mustaras’ imagination sees in each building, and how each of them has a distinct, complex personality in her mind, is fascinating. On June 9th, the exhibition also hosted a panel discussion “Undressing the Meaning of the Dress”, moderated by Sami Sykko, journalist for Fashion, Culture and Arts. The panellists Antonella Giannone (Professor at Kunsthochschule Berlin-Weißensee), Mert Otsamo, (Fashion Designer) and Annamari Vänskä, (Collegium Researcher at the Turku Institute for Advanced Studies) discussed the relationship between fashion, arts, architecture, gender and identity. Among other intriguing topics, the participants reflected upon how the city and our surroundings influence the way we dress. They also analyzed what our clothes say about us.

After this exhibition, you will certainly see the familiar architecture around you in a different light. You can admire Mustaras’ dresses until July 8th at the Finnish Institute (Georgenstrasse, 24. Railway station : Friedrichstrasse )

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News from Berlin
Chloé Francisco, Berlin Global