It's not often that you hear about shoe designers coming out of Helsinki, Finland.
Even though the Finns are very stylish and fashion-forward, the last time I visited, there were only a handful of cool shops to visit, and a few noteworthy designers, the most prominent being Ivana of Helsinki. I obviously missed Minna Parikka, who crafts colorful shoes, bags, and gloves with eclectic details, and has dressed the likes of Beth Ditto and Lady Gaga. Her designs seem to tap into that strange connection between Finland and Japan, with styles that are more colorful, fun, quirky, camp, and generally kawaii than your typical monochromatic Scandinavian fare. The shoes come in about every color of the rainbow, and are adorned with plump lips, paint drips, and enough sweethearts and pussy cat bows to give you a toothache. Some of the styles are admittedly even too over-the-top ridiculous for me (the shoe adorned face mask takes fetish to a whole new level), but there are also plenty of styles to love. I will be visiting Helsinki again this summer, and will definitely try to make a stop at the Minna Parikka boutique.