written by:
July 26, 2011

It's hard not to adore (and lust after) Marimekko's fabrics. In the early 1950s, as Finland continued its slow ­recovery from World War II, textile designer Armi Ratia seized the opportunity to bring hope and optimism to the country—in the form of brightly colored and boldly patterned fabrics and clothing. From the remnants of her husband Viljo’s oilcloth company, the couple launched Marimekko in 1951. Less than a decade later, Jackie Kennedy graced a December 1960 cover of Sports Illustrated in a pink Marimekko dress, and the company took off, gaining renown for its bright, modern, fashion-forward textiles and clothing. Here we take a look at some of Marimekko's most iconic and favorite patterns. Be sure to watch our Process slideshow that shows how these textiles are made.

Marimekko-Lumimarja-fabric-Erja-Hirvi.jpg

Lumimarja, designed by Erja Hirvi in 2004, is one of Marimekko's best-selling textiles. Marimekko gives contributors carte blanche on how to present their ideas to the artwork team: Some paint, some draw, some design on computers. Hirvi presented her idea

Lumimarja, designed by Erja Hirvi in 2004, is one of Marimekko's best-selling textiles. Marimekko gives contributors carte blanche on how to present their ideas to the artwork team: Some paint, some draw, some design on computers. Hirvi presented her idea with real branches attached to a piece of paper with tape.

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Marimekko-Pieni-Unikko-red-pillow-Maija-Isola.jpg

In 1964, Maija Isola designed Marimekko's most popular and most recognizable pattern in its collection. Unikko, which means poppy, follows Ratia's unconventional vision of presenting bold, bright patterns to the public. This pillow, sold at Marimekko Shop

In 1964, Maija Isola designed Marimekko's most popular and most recognizable pattern in its collection. Unikko, which means poppy, follows Ratia's unconventional vision of presenting bold, bright patterns to the public. This pillow, sold at Marimekko Shops at select Crate and Barrel locations and at crateandbarrel.com, feature the Pieni Unikko print, which is a middle print between the original Unikko pattern and Mini-Unikko.

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Marimekko-Pieni-Unikko-fabric-Maija-Isola.jpg

The Pieni Unikko print has taken on all kinds of color combinations since it was unveiled nearly 50 years ago. Shown here is dubbed option 560.

The Pieni Unikko print has taken on all kinds of color combinations since it was unveiled nearly 50 years ago. Shown here is dubbed option 560.

Courtesy of 
Marimekko Corporation
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Marimekko-Joonas-Tempotest-Maija-Kristina-Isola.jpg

Isola designed more than 500 patterns for Marimekko, including this Joonas fabric in 1961 (three years before Unikko).

Isola designed more than 500 patterns for Marimekko, including this Joonas fabric in 1961 (three years before Unikko).

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Marimekko-Lappuliisa-fabric-Maija-Louekari.jpg

Though this colorful pattern, named Lappuliisa, was designed this year by artist Maija Louekari, we'd bet it's one that's here to stay. Louekari was inspired by her grandmother's vintage crocheted potholders.

Though this colorful pattern, named Lappuliisa, was designed this year by artist Maija Louekari, we'd bet it's one that's here to stay. Louekari was inspired by her grandmother's vintage crocheted potholders.

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Marimekko-Ruutukaava-bed-linens-Maija-Louekari.jpg

Louekari has been a prolific Marimekko contributor in recent years. In 2007 she created this graphic pattern called Ruutukaava.

Louekari has been a prolific Marimekko contributor in recent years. In 2007 she created this graphic pattern called Ruutukaava.

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Marimekko-siirtolapuutarha-fabric-Maija-Louekari.jpg

In 2009 she designed this Siirtolapuutarha pattern, which has been put to many applications. The textile is meant to tell the story of the growth of flower and vegetable beds in Finland's urban areas.

In 2009 she designed this Siirtolapuutarha pattern, which has been put to many applications. The textile is meant to tell the story of the growth of flower and vegetable beds in Finland's urban areas.

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Marimekko-Siirtolapuutarha-blue-and-white-bowl-Maija-Louekari.jpg

Here, Louekari's Siirtolapuutarha pattern appears on an <a href="http://www.crateandbarrel.com/the-marimekko-shop/marimekko-kitchenwares/marimekko-siirtolapuutarha-blue-and-white-8%22-bowl/s196706">eight-inch vitreous porcelain bowl</a>.

Here, Louekari's Siirtolapuutarha pattern appears on an eight-inch vitreous porcelain bowl.

Courtesy of 
Paavo Lehtonen
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Marimekko-Siirtolapuutarha-Rasymatto-cup-Maija-Louekari.jpg

Her Siirtolapuutarha Räsymatto pattern features a whimsical, off-kilter pattern of dots. Here it's applied to a <a href="http://www.crateandbarrel.com/the-marimekko-shop/marimekko-kitchenwares/marimekko-siirtolapuutarha-räsymatto-blue-and-white-cup/s19667

Her Siirtolapuutarha Räsymatto pattern features a whimsical, off-kilter pattern of dots. Here it's applied to a porcelain cup.

Courtesy of 
Paavo Lehtonen
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Marimekko-Rasymatto-Apron-Maija-Louekari.jpg

Here, the blue dots of Louekari's Siirtolapuutarha Räsymatto pattern brighten a white <a href="http://www.crateandbarrel.com/the-marimekko-shop/marimekko-kitchenwares/marimekko-räsymatto-apron/s199412">apron</a>.

Here, the blue dots of Louekari's Siirtolapuutarha Räsymatto pattern brighten a white apron.

Courtesy of 
Paavo Lehtonen
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Marimekko-Kirsikka-upholstery-fabric-Iiro-A-Ahokas.jpg

Designer Iiro A. Ahokas designed this Kirsikka pattern in 2007 inspired by cherries that had fallen to the ground.

Designer Iiro A. Ahokas designed this Kirsikka pattern in 2007 inspired by cherries that had fallen to the ground.

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Marimekko-Iitavilli-Plate-Miina-Akkijyrkka.jpg

Miina Äkkijyrkkä's 2008 pattern Iltavilli, which means wild in the evening, has been interpreted on fabric as well as products like cups and the <a href="http://www.crateandbarrel.com/the-marimekko-shop/marimekko-kitchenwares/marimekko-iltavilli-plate/s13

Miina Äkkijyrkkä's 2008 pattern Iltavilli, which means wild in the evening, has been interpreted on fabric as well as products like cups and the plate shown here.

Courtesy of 
Paavo Lehtonen
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Marimekko-Juhannustaika-fabric-Aino-Maija-Metsola.jpg

Marimekko's Juhannustaika fabric by Aino-Maija Metsola shows its softer (yet no less colorful) side. For more Marimekko, watch our <a href="www.dwell.com/slideshows/Helsinki-Ink.html">Process slideshow</a>, in which we tour the Marimekko factory in Helsin

Marimekko's Juhannustaika fabric by Aino-Maija Metsola shows its softer (yet no less colorful) side. For more Marimekko, watch our Process slideshow, in which we tour the Marimekko factory in Helsinki to see how the company's iconic textiles come to life.

 

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Lumimarja, designed by Erja Hirvi in 2004, is one of Marimekko's best-selling textiles. Marimekko gives contributors carte blanche on how to present their ideas to the artwork team: Some paint, some draw, some design on computers. Hirvi presented her idea

Lumimarja, designed by Erja Hirvi in 2004, is one of Marimekko's best-selling textiles. Marimekko gives contributors carte blanche on how to present their ideas to the artwork team: Some paint, some draw, some design on computers. Hirvi presented her idea with real branches attached to a piece of paper with tape.

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