FINNISH ARCHITECT and designer Alvar Aalto began to make a name for himself about 80 years ago and the fascination with Scandinavian design can be traced directly back to his work designing furniture, vases and buildings. The heritage of this era seems to have landed squarely at the door of Nokia. From wood-pulp to rubber to mobile telephony, Nokia has had an extraordinary history and few modern companies can boast of such a history of reinvention. It is significant that Aalto got his start in the 1920s because Nokia recently launched a series of mobile phones aimed at those with a sense of design and style. These fashion phones are for people who see a mobile phone as more than an instrument with which to send messages. Finland's design sense and history were key factors in the new design. Nokia Mobile Phones Hong Kong and Macau general manager Bruce Lam said the 1920s played an important role in creating the concept. 'Nokia's new fashion collection revealed three uniquely fashion-forward designs that reflect the values of the 1920s movement and Nokia's own design philosophy. The Nokia 7260, 7270 and 7280 are each a unique fusion of the latest technology and leading designs to create a sense of fantasy-fashion that we believe will appeal to many,' Mr Lam said. The period was one of intense activity in the world of design and it encompasses many styles and artists, including art deco, Bauhaus, the geometric work of Escher, a second look at Modernism and much more. A spokeswoman for Nokia in Hong Kong explained the relationship between the influence of the past and the technology of the present. 'The Nokia designers, inspired by that legendary era, lure us back to a time of definitive glamour, iconic drama and pure contrasts. The team mixes old and new influences, interpreting in its own way to make a statement for today's consumers to express their individuality and personal style,' she said. Mobile phones, particularly in Asia, are far more than simply communication devices. 'Each piece in the collection recalls all the extravagance of colour and life. It features the energy and graphical shapes common to the art deco genre, yet boasts an impressive, modern sophistication. While both serious and playful, all three handsets demonstrate classic urban styling, sweeping seductive curves and geometric forms, with a contemporary interpretation of style,' she said. Mr Lam said the inspiration for the new designs was the result of a great deal of research and hard work. 'Following extensive research into design trends, insights and influences, Nokia's celebrated design team set a new agenda with the integration of technology into everyday life via personal objects. With the unique talents and creative energy of multi-disciplinary team members, these objects were transformed into a collection set to become a true status symbol of style.' It has not been lost on many that Shanghai was also a major centre for art deco design and was perhaps Asia's hottest spot during the 1920s and 1930s. At a recent event held in Shanghai, guests were treated to a feast of fashion. It began with a sleek black box containing an 'invitation to discover'. It was a barrage of design, desire and decadence. Several hundred international guests descended on Shanghai to experience Totally Fashion, the unveiling of Nokia's new fashion collection. Transforming everyday lifestyle pieces into distinct talking points for the fashion savvy, the new collection from Nokia welcomed a radical departure from traditional mobile phone design, with the Nokia 7260, 7270 and 7280 converting a functional object to a serious fashion accessory. To introduce the collection, Totally Fashion swept guests into the world of old-style glamour. A celebration of 1920s spirit, the two-day event showcased a convergence of fashion and technology, as inspirations from the Garbo era took on a modern twist.