Marimekko Up Close
- By Mary Anne
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A few years ago I had the opportunity to visit the Marimekko flagship store in Helsinki, Finland. I thought, since this is the 50th anniversary of Maremekkos’ iconic flower pattern Unikko, that it would be a great time to share some thoughts on this fabulous designer.
Founded in 1949, by Armi Ratia, Marimekko was defined as “a cultural phenomenon guiding the quality of living”. However, the company really got off the ground in 1951 with its first fashion show. It created such a sensation that clothing was literally sold off the models backs. In 1960, Jackie Kennedy cemented Marimekko’s place in history with the purchase of seven dresses that she wore throughout the presidential campaign. In the 1990′s, the TV show Sex and the City caused a resurgence in popularity when Carrie wore a bikini in a Marimekko print and later one of their print dresses. Marimekko is characterized by simple, bold, colourful prints. Although Armi disliked florals and forbid them in her fabrics, one of the designers ignored her and created the iconic print Unikko, shown below on fabric and tea accessories.
With the popularity of bright colours this year, in both fashion and decor, Marimekko is still right on trend. They were mixing reds and pinks, blues and greens long before we ever thought it was ok! A little bit of Marimekko print goes a long way. Cushions, napkins, tablecloths, shower curtains and tableware are some of their most popular items. Below are some prints from the new Fall 2014 line.
I really like the idea of stretching a piece of their bold printed fabric over a wooden frame for instant artwork and a pop of colour. Both EQ3 and Crate and Barrel stock Marimekko products, while Vancouver has the only Marimekko store in Canada.