Jasmin Santanen discovers the modern moment in medieval times. By Meredith Fisher
Jasmin Santanen's name is Finnish, her education American, and her place of business is Parisian. But it's precisely this sort of global intersection that makes the designer's new namesake collection so universally appealing. "All three cities play an important part in my work and influence my designs," says Santanen, who studied at Parsons School of Design in New York and went on to work in Paris with Yves Saint-Laurent and Hermès before embarking on her own venture.
"When I first started, I was thinking of something more casual and day-to-day," recalls the designer. "But then a client who was fond of my evening-wear came to me asking for more feminine pieces…these are now the trademarks of the line." Her attention to these details and various couture traditions of designing comes full circle in her first ready-to-wear collection for spring/summer 2008—an intricately woven tapestry of medieval references and modern silhouettes, all finished in a palette of clean, cool whites, blues, and warm creams and gold.
"Living in Paris exposes me to many medieval ideas, but my main point of reference this season came from Elizabeth I," says Santanen. "She had such a natural elegance, but she was also a warrior." This balance between grace and power is directly reflected in an embroidered cotton tank dress that's both sexy and sobering. And even the finest of lace skirts is precisely cut to fit the waist for a sharp silhouette.
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