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Tuesday 3 June 2014

Marvellous Marimekko

Marimekko, those Finnish purveyors of gorgeous, colourful patterns, were founded in 1951 but are celebrating a very special birthday this year. Their ever-popular Unikko pattern turns 50 this year. There's a brilliant story behind the pattern. The company's founder, Armi Ratia, announced he never wanted the company to produce a floral fabric; the designer Maija Isola ignored him completely and went away and produced a whole raft of floral designs, including the bold forms of Unikko, as pictured. And so, the company became known for its floral pattern.

Over the last fifty years, the pattern has changed colours according to the fashions of the time: to suit the bold sixties, the flowers were reproduced in red, blue and black, while the seventies saw earlier browns and green and the twenty-first century saw it reproduced in pastels. Unikko is now available on a whole range of products, as well as fabric, from the wallpaper shown at the top of the post to mugs to FatBoy bean bags.

And, of course, they've produced a special range in honour of its anniversary, including the teapot pictured (£67 from Skandium).

But it's not just Unikko that's worth celebrating. Marimekko regularly have the cheeriest homewares on the block, from this cute deer tray...

... to the fruity delights of the Kompotti cushion.

While you can pick up Marimekko's goods from Skandium, Heal's and John Lewis, their clothing range isn't quite as well distributed in the UK. Which is a) a shame but b) bloody good news for my bank balance. This Kuohu dress, for example, based on a 1965 pattern is £185.


Marimekko have teamed up with Banana Republic for a much more affordable range of shorts and dresses that starts at £39.50 and goes up to £85 max. No Unikko alas, but plenty of spots and flowers to compensate. I advise you to snap them up now, they seem to be selling fast and no doubt they'll be looking just as good in 50 years time!


  1. Marimekko doesn't always do it for me, I think in the same way Orla Kiely's stem print is ubiquitous, I shy away from their most famous print because it's everywhere. But that first dress is lovely, I'd totally wear that.

    1. I know what you mean. I own a fair bit of Marimekko but not in the Unikko pattern.

      I adore that dress too. It would be so much fun to wear with coloured tights, chunky jewellery and bright lipstick.

    2. The shoes that model is wearing are managing to be both flat and super high all at the same time. That's silly.

  2. Marimekko always cheers me up, but I love practically all Scandivian designs. Especially the bold colors.


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