At the Royal Academy’s Summer Late, celebrating the institution’s major exhibition of the Finnish painter’s work, Carolina’s collection was presented on the marble staircase of Burlington House’s foyer. “I think they had heard about my graduate collection from mutual friends and colleagues,” says Carolina, speaking of the invitation she received from London’s Finnish Institute. “It felt like a good opportunity to show my graduate work in a new environment, a new country and for new audience.” But it was the presentational autonomy that the show offered that the prospect particularly attractive: “I was able to build the whole thing as I preferred, all the way from casting to which type of font to use in the wall tapes/stickers. It’s quite different to, say, Aalto’s annual fashion show. It was a lot of work though, you really need someone to help with the production on something like this.”
“It may not have much of an impact from a sales perspective, but then again, I participated with my graduate collection, both out of curiosity and for the experience. It’s important to be open-minded about different events and venues.”
Indeed, while the cross-pollination of art and fashion is a trend we continue to see more of, with designers increasingly taking to galleries to present their work, large-scale institutional endorsements of designers remain comparatively rare. Given the notable impact of Scherfbeck’s work on Carolina’s, her place on the platform makes sense. “Her work is so beautiful: so silent, but at the same time so loud. She is well-known for her portraits, and the way she interprets her models is exceptional. In my perspective, her work is about silhouettes, which is also where I start with my design process. She doesn’t focus so much on details, and uses muted colours with some accent colours—this also something that I feel I can relate to,” says Carolina of the effect of the artists’ paintings on her graduate collection.
While it may certainly have been a unique experience, the pay-off of such events for young designers can often be hard to measure—press coverage can be limited, and there is often no translation to sales. For Carolina, however, she still deems the experience worthwhile. “Sure, it may not have much of an impact from a sales perspective, but then again, I participated with my graduate collection, both out of curiosity and for the experience. It’s important to be open-minded about different events and venues—this may not have been a specifically fashion-oriented event, but it great to talk with people from different fields and hear their thoughts on the collection. I would definitely do it again!”