Object Lesson: Feeling Finn

A new concept for Marimekko emerges in Cambridge. By Laura Schechter
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Marimekko, the Finnish textile and clothing company founded in 1951, is perhaps one of the most famous creators of bold, vibrant, often psychedelic prints. During the '60s and '70s, the company's outspoken explosions of flowers and hypnotic, swirling repeat patterns became a signature of the free-to-be-you-and-me era. Even Jackie O was a fan.
A half-century following its birth, the first U.S. Marimekko concept store has just opened in Cambridge, MA. Ironically, it was here in 1959 that America first fell in love with the brand at the store Design Research, the first in the country to carry Marimekko's audacious patterns. The idea of a Concept shop translates to an exclusive partnership with the Finnish pioneer, and it's the only place in the U.S. you'll find one-of-a-kind, original Marimekko creations, from housewares to clothing. Yes, that probably means in 20+ years, these will be the pieces fetching a fortune on ebay, just like the old-school Marimekko patterns do now.
Designer Mika Piirainen is just one of Marimekko's genius collaborators and we've taken a personal fancy to his Kiiruna coat ($455). For this piece and so many others, the Finnish Piirainen draws from the graphic patterns of his Marimekko predecessors: the elegantly abstract designs of artists Fujimo Ishimoto and the eclectic motifs of Maija Isola. The pattern of Kiiruna has the feel of a softer, more feminine camouflage and the shape takes the traditional ski jacket a step further into—or back to—the future; its form-fitting silhouette flatters the body while keeping it toasty, and the higher collar amps up the casual factor for everyday wear. A some-day collector's item? Our bet says, yes.
Marimekko Cambridge, 350 Huron Avenue, Cambridge, MA; 617-354-2800. For more information about Marimekko, go to www.marimekko.com
A new concept for Marimekko emerges in Cambridge.
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