Finnish women’s clothing fashion designer Milla Lintilä, who lives in Paris, participated in Hyères, the International Festival of Fashion, Photography and Fashion accessories in Villa Noailles at the end of April. In the 34th edition of the festival Milla won the Galeries Lafayette Award with her collection Metadance, an MA-collection she has made for Aalto University. In the monthly portrait of June, we discussed with Milla about the Hyères Festival, Paris and the approaching summer.

Milla Lintilä, who moved back to Paris last fall, has had a busy spring especially because of the Hyères Festival where she won the Galeries Lafayette Award with her Metadance collection. The collection was designed exclusively on knitwear, even though her background is in woven fabrics, women’s prêt-à-porter design and especially in draping. Knit is a recently new fabric for her, a material that quickly became her own. To Milla, who has previously studied also art history, the inspiration for fashion often comes from art. Metadance was inspired by the two manifestos from the French artist Valentine de Saint-Point, Manifesto of Futurist Woman and Futurist Manifesto of Lust. “The manifestos were written at the beginning of the 20th century and they are still very actual in today’s context. They are about the 1920s women’s societal expectations and sentimental roles, liberation, women’s sexuality as an energy and as artistic energy. They are extremely modern and forward-looking, I definitely recommend reading them”, Milla says. In her collection she wanted to portray femininity, – strong femininity – even shameless in some ways: “The collection is feminine almost in a kitsch way, rich in materials but subtle and accessible. I wanted to interpret femininity in a certain way, my language is simple but really luxurious.”

The Hyères Festival is aimed for young fashion designers and participating in it is a huge investment. Even making it as a finalist has a huge impact on the later career as during the festival the finalists make a lot of important contacts and build their professional network. “Hyères was so incredible as an experience, really intensive and, at least for me, totally irreplaceable. All the people, the mentality…The contest is one thing, but the other part is all the contacts you meet and the network it offers, it’s priceless. The two weeks of the festival were magical, I couldn’t be happier at this moment,” Milla describes her experience in Hyères.

As a part of the victory, Milla will design a Capsule collection to Galeries Lafayette for spring 2020. Milla is keenly looking forward to work with the department store and believes it to be fun even though the details are still open-ended. It consists of a project that Milla will begin working on with Galeries Lafayette during June. Winning the award and working with a big department store has already brought Milla some visibility that she also wants to take advantage of in regards of her future career. For this, living in Paris offers great opportunities. To the question, if the victory has impacted her career yet, Milla immediately replies yes. “The fact that I won the Galeries Lafayette Award is an incredible opportunity. It gives good visibility and I want to make the most of it. I am really lucky to be living here and push this thing fully forward because otherwise, these things can die quickly.”

Along with the victory, Milla who is finishing her studies at the Aalto University feels like she is on the verge of something new and has positive feelings about the future. “When I moved to Paris for my studies in 2010, I thought one day… Now it is the one day, I feel a beginning of a sort, and it feels so great when all of a sudden someone looks at your work. I feel really good, positive feelings. This year will be interesting”, Milla says. When talking about the future Milla has a clear vision of how she wants her future career to proceed. Even though it would be easy to establish her own brand now after the winning in Hyères, she has not changed her plans or goals towards which she has worked on for a long time already. “I still want to work for brands or big fashion houses, I know really precisely where I want to be. I believe in the old-school way of doing things, I want to learn with someone the ins and outs of fashion and do it well, I feel like I still have time to evolve. If we talk about a perfect dream career-wise, it is to work for a good house and at the same time gradually develop my own thing further.”

“Small knit dresses and summer 2019.”

After a busy spring Milla tells she is currently enjoying more peaceful moments and for the first time in living in Paris, she has time for other things apart from work. “Now that I came to Paris after Hyères it is the first time that I am off. Otherwise, I am just working, mostly during the weekends as well, and that is why I have now tried to really enjoy this freedom. This is kind of a weird in-between stage, searching for something new. Now it is the first time I have been able to go to the museums, the offering here is huge, all the big museums and galleries. I have been trying to see exhibitions and otherwise look around me. Normally the everyday life is just going to work in the morning and back in the evening, maybe stop for a glass of wine if you’re lucky,” Milla says. Living in Paris does not automatically mean that the possibilities of the city can be constantly exploited.

During the summer Milla plans to escape the heat of Paris to Finland, Southern France and the mountains. She will, however, stay in Paris too as work keeps her in town. Additionally, she wants to spend time in the libraries doing research. When asked about the clothing trends of summer 2019, she predicts them to be effortless. Milla also wishes to see people wearing knitwear in the streets. “I have to promote knitwear. I want to see the slinky knit dresses, the Missoni from the 90s coming back! I’m so interested in knitwear for the moment and I see its future. It’s also sexy in a certain way, it is so free you can do anything in it. Small knit dresses and summer 2019.”

“Summer and parks in here are the thing, you don’t need anything else but your friends, wine and a park, and that’s it! It’s the best thing in the Parisian summer, just sit outside.”

Milla, who has lived in Paris since 2010, has also some tips for the tourists who come to Paris during the summer. She personally likes to go around the city on foot, which is a great way to discover the surroundings. “The best thing in Paris is that you don’t even have to know where you’re going to, you can always end up somewhere. The more remote and the smaller the place, the more interesting it is. I also love the kitsch side of Paris; walking back and forth along the river, I recommend it!” Milla also has some precise places she suggests to see in Paris: “the restaurant Les Mésanges in the 20th district, go there, it’s a small village inside a restaurant. The loveliest bistro in the world! And the parks are wonderful too! One place that immediately became my absolute favourite is the Grand Mosque of Paris and the café next to it. One of the most beautiful places in Paris is the garden of the Grand Mosque, the Mosque and the restaurant next to it.” Milla thinks the best thing of summer in Paris are the parks: “Summer and parks in here are the thing, you don’t need anything else but your friends, wine and a park, and that’s it! It is the best thing in the Parisian summer, just sit outside.”

© Etienne Tordoir /

Milla Lintilä

Text: Salla Ijäs