Erika Turunen has designed costumes for a large number of theatre, ballet and opera productions since the beginning of the 1990’s. She is Costume Designer at the Finnish National Opera and Ballet, and was Head of the Costume Department from 1995 to 2009. There she designs costumes for large-scale opera and ballet works, such as The Hobbit (2001, chor. Marjo Kuusela), Il Viaggio a Reims (2002, dir. Dario Fo), Punainen Viiva (2007, dir. Pekka Milonoff), Sleeping Beauty (2008, chor. Javier Torres), The Snow Queen (2012, chor. Kenneth Greve), Beauty and the Beast (2014, chor. Javier Torres) and The Little Mermaid (2015, chor. Kenneth Greve). In 2007 she was in charge of costume design for The Eurovision Song Contest.
Turunen has attracted a lot of attention internationally for her work for contemporary dance. She has collaborated with Jorma Uotinen, Susanna Leinonen, Kenneth Kvarnström, the Norwegian Jø Strömgren, and others. She has also designed costumes for Nederlands Dans Theater, Ballet de l’Opéra de Lyon, Royal Danish Ballet, Grand Théâtre de Genève and Skånes Dansteater, as well as the Operas of Malmö and Gothenburg. In 2010, Turunen founded her own design studio, Ateljee Hurma, where, in addition to her regular work for performing-art productions, she designs costumes for individual artists as well as evening dresses.
Turunen has been collaborating with Tero Saarinen since the beginning of the 21st century. She has designed costumes for many of Saarinen’s works: Wavelengths (Finnish National Ballet, 2000), Petrushka (Tero Saarinen Company, 2001), SINI (Lyon Opéra Ballet, 2001), HUNT (Tero Saarinen Company, 2002), Georgia (Finnish National Ballet, 2003), Borrowed Light (Tero Saarinen Company, 2004), Frail Line (NDT1, 2006), Mariage (Opéra national de Lorraine and le CNN – Ballet de Lorraine, 2007), Next of Kin (Tero Saarinen Company, 2008), Scheme of Things (NDT1, 2009), Double Lives (nordwest, 2010), Vox Balaenae (2011), Absent Presence (2011), VORTEX (National Dance Company of Korea, 2014), Kullervo (Finnish National Opera and Ballet, 2015) and Zimmermann Trio (Tero Saarinen Company and LA Phil, 2018).
In 2017, Turunen was awarded the Knight of the Order of the Lion of Finland.