60 years old | One of the costume designer Sari Suominen’s latest theatrical works was in the play Humiseva Harju: “It was a heady project”

Sari Suominen, who dresses in films, theater and opera, began her versatile career in Rome.

It was déjà-vu.

In 1980 Sari Suominen was on the first interrail of his life in Rome. Sitting on the Spanish Steps, he had a strong feeling that he had been here before.

“I told a friend that I was just applying for a student law in Finland and I’ll be right back,” Suominen says.

That’s what happened. He left for Rome the same day he became a student.

“I didn’t even celebrate.”

Suominen didn’t just speak Italian, but a job at a camping restaurant was arranged. After a couple of years, his language skills had accumulated so that he applied to university to study humanities subjects.

However, the university did not feel the right place. The creative industry was attracted.

“History and fashion have always interested me. I started collecting old clothes from flea markets as early as the 1970s, when flea markets were not yet in vogue. ”

This flea market past was also useful for those in the 1960s Smiling man in costume, from which Suominen kicked the Jussi statue in 2016.

But Suominen might not have ended up as a costume designer without the next turn in life related to tourism.

“In the summer of 1982, I traveled to visit Finland. On a Swedish ship, I discussed my studies with a person. She said she knew her studying in Rome at the fashion school L’Accademia di Costume e di Moda, and said it could suit me. ”

Suominen applied for and entered school in 1983.

“Fortunately, I got a full student loan. Probably because there was no similar education in Finland. ”

Regular training for costume designers has been organized in Finland as a leading degree program for the master ‘s degree and the profession of costume designer at the University of Art and Design Helsinki since 2003.

fashion at school Italian art history and Greek tragedies became familiar. However, that other side, fashion, did not speak so much about Finland.

“In the’ 80s, designer clothes started to come, and I never understood that concept. I remember one boy at a fashion school wearing a scarf with a Valentino logo. I said I would never wear a dress that shows someone else’s name, ”he says and laughs.

The theater world seemed closer. Suominen worked in Italy in several theatrical costumes as an assistant.

“It taught the basics. In Italy, work is done in a master-racer type. ”

Suominen has not shy away from the work of an assistant as an experienced factor, “out of interest”.

Memorable was Lars von Trier credit suit designer Manon Rasmussen acting as an assistant in film Manderlay (2005).

“Trier was used to the fact that Rasmussen was always present in the filming. However, Rasmussen had something going on in a couple of days, and he suggested me as his replacement. Trier replied that he would look for two days to see if I could handle it. ”

And Suominen did. For inquiries about Trier’s personality, he replies diplomatically that the director was “quite blocked but quite friendly”.

Suominen returned to Finland in the middle of the recession in 1992 for family reasons and has been working as a freelancer ever since. Unfortunately Italy has not been surprised.

“Rome has become a terribly hectic place, and the city is constantly full of tourists. Yes, I regularly visit my sister and her family living there. ”

In the early years Suominen made a lot of opera costumes.

“It’s fun to do opera and musicals because they have spectacular mass scenes and you get to invest in visuals.”

Suominen’s largest costume is probably the main work of the Savonlinna Opera Festival in 2000 Time and sleep, for which he designed about 500 costumes.

Suominen is happy to have worked with great instructors and work groups.

“This profession is about collaboration.”

Her latest theatrical costumes have premiered in January 2020 Lauri Maijalan guided Humiseva Harju Helsinki City Theater. “It was a heady project. In the theater, free association in the early stages is wonderful, you can even throw in silly ideas. ”

Mystical to the story of the moorland landscape, he says he went into the mood, not so much through the epoch.

And taking complete control of a particular epoch is not as important to him as achieving the right mood.

“After all, we will never be able to completely copy history, and I don’t know if it’s necessary.”

Then he makes a revelation.

“I put it Even to a smiling man 80’s shirt, and I don’t know if anyone noticed it. ”

Sari Suominen

Born in 1961 in Helsinki.

Studied at the L’Accademia di Costume e di Moda in Rome from 1983 to 1987.

Worked in Italy in 1987–1991 in theater costumes and films, e.g. as an assistant to costume designer Anna Maria Heinreich.

Costumed operas, dance theater, films and theater performances in Finland. The latest theatrical costumes for the Helsinki City Theater play Humiseva Harju (2020) and the Lahti City Theater play Jekyll & Hyde (2020).

Awarded Best Costume Design with the Jussi Statue for the Smiling Man (2016). Was a Jussi nominee for Best Costume Design from Dogs Don’t Wear Pants (2019).

Turns 60 on Thursday, May 6th.

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