Welcome to my world of (life)style!
In this article, I will present a few people who have influenced me or who continue to influence me as I build my own style. Apart from the people who influence my clothing style, I also include people who are related to my lifestyle and style of singing.
As you probably know, developing one's own style is never about copying someone else's style to the minute detail. That is called imitating. Instead, the point is to my mind to become inspired by other people or for example by different artforms. (Finding inspiration is of course so much easier now than before because of the Internet.) Originality in one's own style manifests itself as an ability to get inspired from different things and to use the inspiration well. The best end result in terms of personal style can be achieved when we learn to combine elements from different people, brands, eras etc. that we like and that fit our personality and body.
I have always wanted to learn as much as I can from the prominent public figures of the fields that I'm interested in. When I know a bit of history and the people who shaped history, the present feels more meaningful – then I know better where everything I see and experience around me has come from and why they are the way they are right now. In addition, when I know a bit of the classics and the iconic people, I know how I can slightly and tastefully even break the rules associated to them and thus bring my inspiration from them successfully to this day and age. That is why I still want to learn more about history and its remarkable people, even though it means at the same time that I am less aware of the passing fads of this day.
Below you can read a shortened alphabet's worth (from A to N) of information about the people who are significant and inspiring to me in some way. I wish you pleasant moments with my ABC-book of style!
Audrey Hepburn (1929–1993)
I was about 14 or 15 years old when I first saw Audrey's films, and she made such a lasting impression on me. Her impression on me has literally lasted to this day... In fact, I'm sure I will always love her timeless charm and style.
Anne-Sophie Mutter (1963–)
In my opinion, she is THE violinist of our time. The more I hear her play, the more I find her sound unique and intriguing. When I saw her perform in Turku with her chamber ensemble Mutter's Virtuosi in August of 2023, I realized that although the music is the main character of the concert, it is mesmerizing to observe her charisma, elegance and performance practices on stage.
Barbra Streisand (1942–)
Barbra is definitely one of my greatest musical influences. I never get tired of hearing her sing, seeing her act or just looking at her face. I also value all of the original and bold artistic choices she's made throughout her career. I believe that staying true to herself and trusting her abilities and visions has made her one of the best selling artists in the world.
Coco Chanel (1883–1971)
Coco Chanel was one of the most influencial people of the 1900's in the world and a true visionary and a legend. I find that the main principles of timeless style that we live by even now can be found in her quotes. Her legacy in the world of fashion seems to be immortal.
Carolina Herrera (1939–)
Carolina Herrera is my favourite fashion designer. I love the fresh and bright colors, as well as dramatic shapes that are characteristic to her brand. I also have immense appreciation for the fact that she has succeeded in keeping her vision of elegance as the common thread of her brand in the commercial and fast-paced world of fashion.
Caterina Valente (1931–)
A master of so many fields, Caterina is my favourite musical and linguistic virtuoso and polyglot. Her skills continue to amaze me and I find that her talent is truly unparalleled. Unfortunately her immense life's work seems to be left quite unknown to my generation and the generations after me.
Diana, Princess of Wales (1961–1997)
Diana was such an iconic personality and trendsetter. I'd like to learn how to encounter people with the same warmth and skill as she did.
Dean Martin (1917–1995)
We used to always listen to one of Dean's CDs in the car when I was small. Now I also understand what a fun personality he was and that his laid-back way of singing and phrasing makes his music so compelling.
Ella Fitzgerald (1917–1996)
Ella made me fell in love with jazz and The Great American Songbook when I'd listen to her songs during the bus rides to and from school in my teens. She is the queen of scat to my mind.
We used to listen to a compilation of Elvis' biggest hits in the car in the summer when I was small. It is only in the recent years that I have realized the grandeur of his impact on music and youth culture.
Edith Head (1897–1981)
Her costume design work for Hollywood films is nothing short of legendary. I love the clear-cut and powerful femininity of her costumes that brought out the best in the leading ladies of Hollywood's golden era. I also find it interesting that she had such strong personal brand as a designer that it made her stand out in her field.
Fred Astaire (1899–1987)
I know Astaire's graceful style mostly from Funny Face (1957). Lately I also fell in love with the glamour and innocence of his films with Ginger Rogers. What a gift he was to the world of film and dance!
Grace Kelly (1929–1982)
I am stunned by Grace's outfits in To Catch a Thief (1955) every time I watch the movie. And her wedding dress is the most beautiful wedding dress I know.
Gene Kelly (1912–1996)
What a mesmerizing smile and impeccable faculty to dance Gene Kelly had!
Gianni Agnelli (1921–2003)
Gianni Agnelli is the Italian industrialist and head of Fiat who mastered the art of wearing sartorial menswear with 'sprezzatura', an element of delicate ease and creativity. I love the combinations of soft, rough and relaxed fabrics and textures in his outfits. He is often named as the most elegant man in the world – and I have no objections to that!
Henry Mancini (1924–1994)
Mancini's compositions ooze elegance – he has been able to bottle up the musical identity of the concept of elegance in them. Especially the use of the beguine rhythm, all of the Latin rhythms and catchy melodies melt my heart and touch the deepest parts of my soul.
Inès de la Fressange (1957–)
Inès is truly a part of the supermodel royalty. She was Karl Lagerfeld's muse and nowadays she spreads the message of the blue, red and white colored Parisian style through her own brand.
Julie Andrews (1935–)
Julie ignited my love for musicals. I am constantly fascinated by her grace and wit like the whole entertainment world over the last decades.
Jackie Kennedy Onassis (1929–1994)
Jackie is a great example of adopting European elegance and bringing it to the American culture. She was also a skilled public figure and a vanguard of style.
Karl Lagerfeld (1933–2019)
Karl is an unforgettable personality and icon, whose interesting quotes always hit fashion's nail on the head.
Luciano Pavarotti (1935–2007)
Most of all, we listened to Pavarotti in the car when I was small. His charisma was so enchanting that it is not surprising that his career reached far beyond the confines of the world of opera.
Laila Kinnunen (1939–2000)
Laila is my favourite Finnish singer. She was a marvelous entertainer and a skilled professional singer who showed the Finnish music market of the 1950's and 60's a glimpse of the level of artistry that was done in a larger scale in the entertainment industry of the Western world.
Maria Callas (1923–1977)
Maria shines through as my greatest love of all of the singers and performers I know. She was perhaps the best interpreter of music in history. Her thoughts on making art in the singing profession (as well as her winged eyeliners) inspire me tremendously.
Queen Máxima of the Netherlands (1971–)
Queen Máxima is an Argentinian polyglot whose smile lights up any room. Her ability to adapt in social situations and display similar warmth that Princess Diana had towards people makes her look as if she was born to be a queen. I'm always moved when I watch the clip from her wedding of when they played Adiós Nonino by Astor Piazzolla to her in the church.
Michael Bublé (1975–)
Bublé is an absolutely spectacular singer and performer. I appreciate especially that he wants to keep the tradition of crooners alive (as do I).
Michael Jackson (1958–2009)
The first time I remember that I became a fan of a singer, was when I became a fan of Michael when I was about 10–11 years old. The first ever song that I learned the English lyrics to was Man in the Mirror. I can still remember the moment when I stood next to my CD-player and tried to read the lyrics from the leaflet on the cover of the CD.
Monica Bellucci (1964–)
Monica is the most beautiful woman I know. Based on her interviews, she seems like a very pleasant and charming person as well. I would have liked to see her portrayal of Maria Callas' letters and memoirs (put together by documentarist Tom Volf), which she performed all over the world.
Miranda Hart (1972–)
Miranda is my favourite comedienne. I still laugh out loud every time I watch her acclaimed sitcom Miranda even though I've seen it like a million times. The message of her brand about having some child-like fun in the adult life is brilliant and influential in all it's wonderful crazyness.
Nina Garcia (1965–)
When I first read two of Nina's books in my teens, I thought that she must have read my mind and written down everything I had ever thought about style and the art of dressing up. Fun fact: I always clap and cheer when they introduce Nina as the judge in Project Runway.😆