, 2022-10-09 06:07:18,
In Helsinki, it’s hard to miss Marimekko: the bold, joyful prints of the much-loved textile house appear in restaurants and bars, on billboards and trams, on cushions and cutlery. They are as Finnish as reindeer and sauna. Ask any Finnish woman, and she will have an item of Marimekko, vintage or otherwise, tucked away somewhere in the wardrobe.
Today, the poppy print Unikko is the most familiar of Marimekko’s designs, but the brand was already famous by the time it was launched in 1964, thanks to the entrepreneurial force of its female founder Armi Ratia and her young designer and textile artist Vuokko Nurmesniemi. Their unstructured dresses and unisex shirts and overalls, printed with stripes, zigzags and ovals in pink and orange and blue and green, brought colour and joy to a dark, depressed country struggling after the Second World War. Ratia and Nurmesniemi would lay the foundations of modern Finnish fashion.
A portrait of Vuokko in the Fine Finland book by Mila Pentti, plus archive images and sketches, including a shot of the ‘Lab’ dress, designed in 1970 and featured on one of Vuokko’s Christmas cards. Photography: Guy Bolongaro
Nurmesniemi’s early creations for Marimekko form part of an upcoming exhibition at the Helsinki Design Museum. ‘Antti + Vuokko Nurmesniemi’ charts the long, gilded careers of Finland’s celebrated husband-and-wife creative powerhouse; she, one of Finland’s most illustrious designers, he, a respected interior…
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