Marimekko’s Iconic Unikko Print Turns 50

by Paige Reddinger

Anniversary alert: Marimekko’s pervasive floral Unikko print is half a century old this year. The Helsinki-based brand celebrated the anniversary of their bold design with a big bash at their Flatiron flagship in New York last night. The brand also unveiled a capsule collection in honor of the birthday that includes apparel, interiors, housewares, and fabrics in the design.

Despite the patterns floral influences, the Unikko print was originally born out of founder Armi Ratia’s disdain for florals. Ratia claimed that flowers were much more beautiful in nature than in a print, but designer Maija Isola ignored orders from the top and instead created the pattern in 1964, that would ultimately become the pattern that put Marimekko on the map. Now the brand has 80 floral prints and about 300 in the archive. So how many prints total are in the company’s repretoire? “We don’t even know! It must be somewhere around 3,000,” the brand’s head of women’s design, Mika Piirainen, told The Daily. “We’ve been using prints mostly from the ’50s, ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s. I might even use some ’90s prints. I’ve been looking at the prints for many years.” As it turns out, it was an anniversary for Piirainen as well. The designer celebrated his 20th anniversary at the company this year. “I feel like a dinosaur already!” said Piirainen. But a decade ago, while Piirainen was still working for the brand, he took some time to freelance and pursue some other passions like landscaping and gardening in Australia. A fitting side occupation for someone who designs floral prints, non?

The capsule collection is available now online and in U.S. stores. Prices range from $598 for a chiffon dress and $135 for a shirt to a coffee cup for $20 or a tray for $89. But while you’re swinging by the store to check out the iconic pattern, we highly recommend checking out their ceiling-high stacks of loose fabric, should you choose to go completely print-crazy with Marimekko’s myriad designs.

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