Minna Parikka – the flagship store
Back in November of 2012, Minna Parikka, the acclaimed ‘Scandi Queen of Shoes’, opened her flagship store on Helsinki’s trendiest shopping street, Aleksanterinkatu. To ensure her store reflected all that the Minna Parikka brand is best known for, Minna chose the Helsinki based Joanna Laajisto Design Studio, whose work also includes the nearby award-winning My-o-My ladies fashion store, One Tiny Champagne Bar, and Maittolaituri Restaurant.
The interior of the new Minna Parikka store manages to combine sophistication with a sense of playfulness, in keeping with the brand motto ‘May these shoes lead you to new adventures’; it is elegant without taking itself too seriously. Inspired by Parikka’s feminine collections, the natural materials used (leather, wood and marble) compliment the muted pastels of the walls and floors, both allowing the merchandise to command the shoppers attention, while the strategic use of mirrors enhances the sense of space. The lighthearted atmosphere is established in the small details, such as the tan leather lips sofa, a là Salvador Dali, the neon ‘XXX’ sign on the floor to ceiling mirrored corner, and the cashier’s counter, which is a white marble writing desk with Parikka’s motto in neon pink lettering.
Minna Parikka – the brand
Since its launch in 2006, the Helsinki-based label has grown rapidly, and now boasts stockists in over 20 countries. Her range of footwear and accessories, which include soft leather gloves, bags, purses, and surreal silk scarves, have been seen on such stars as Fergie of Black Eyed Peas, Beth Ditto of the Gossip, Dita Von Teese, and Paloma Faith. Perhaps her biggest fan is Lady Gaga, who had a double platinum award designed for her by Minna, and who featured in the blog of American fashion photographer Terry Richardson wearing Minna’s limited edition cartoon shoes.
The international appeal of her work is evident in the number of international publications that have featured it. These include Vogue, Vogue Pelle, Elle, Marie Claire, Grazia, Glamour, Collezioni, Tatler, Harper’s Bazaar, WAD, and French and Sleek. She even has her very own first class postage stamp in Finland and three pages in SCARPE!, a book of shoes by Rizzoli. In 2012, the Elle Style Awards were held in Helsinki, and Minna was the choice of the prestigious jury as the Accessory Designer of the Year.
Minna Parikka – the designer
It is one of the mysteries of women’s shoe design that it is dominated by men who will never have to wear them. Thankfully, Minna didn’t allow this incongruity to bother her, and is now leading the way for other female shoe designers to break into the industry. As she recounts it, she realised her true calling at the age of 15, saying “I felt like I’d been struck by a lightning when I first realized I could actually make a career out of making shoes.” By 19 she had moved to the UK to pursue a degree in footwear design, which was the beginning of a 6 year stint spent in London, Milan and Barcelona, living, working, and above all seeking and finding inspiration. In 2005 she returned to her native Helsinki to launch the Minna Parikka brand, and hasn’t looked back since.
Minna states that her love of footwear is founded on the fact that shoes don’t need to be worn to appear beautiful. However, she is also keenly aware that it is when a woman puts a pair on that the magic really happens. As every woman knows, the right pair of shoes can change how she feels, how she looks, and how she is seen by others. Minna designs shoes that manage to combine elements of playfulness, surrealism, and contemporary design, each pair crafted from the finest materials with great attention to detail.