Flower Power

11 Oct

I have a thing for big, bold, flower prints. Not on my body, of course. (Certain parts of mine definitely do not need a big poppy covering them!) And I tend to be fairly understated in my clothing and home decor choices. However, this experiment in mid-century land has me coming out of my shell. Somewhere deep inside an attraction to big flower prints blossoms. Do you think it could perhaps be because I was surrounded by them when I was a child or face down in them as a baby? (On orange and brown shag carpet no less!)

So it’s no surprise that the first house project we tackled, the main bathroom (extensively recorded here, here, here and here and probably in even more posts than I know) was inspired by a color palette from a Marimekko knock-off shower curtain at Target by Dwell Studio for $27. I loved it, the colors, the flowers, everything.

That is until I saw a real Marimekko one today from Crate and Barrel that made me swoon. Similar in many ways, but the Marimekko is darker, bolder, with more flowers. This one is priced at $60, so for half the price, I am pretty happy with what I have. For now.

However, it did get me thinking about Marimekko and the lasting power of a mid-century design. What is it about those vibrant alive colors and the explosive poppies?

Marimekko is a Finnish company that started out applying friends graphic designs to textiles. They created a line of simple dresses made famous by Jacqueline Kennedy during the 1960 presidential campaign, first appearing in a simple pink example on the cover of Sports illustrated. However, the Unikko pattern with the giant poppies became the iconic Marimekko print.

Marimekko also grew in the United States with its relationship with Crate and Barrel, which began in the 60s. Crate and Barrel is the retailer I most associate with Marimekko based on the products they sell and the way they use the fabrics in their window designs. I first discovered Marimekko after falling in love with a bright red poppy umbrella in the window of the Michigan avenue store years ago. How can a rainy day not be cheerful with poppies over your head? (I also labored under the belief that Marimekko was Japanese for a number of years.)

One of the things I love about Orla (yes…all roads lead back to Orla) is that her designs pay tribute to the wonderful over the top patterns and colors of the early Marimekko.  I have a handbag that could easily be Marimekko instead of Orla Kiely.

Apparently, after a purchase in 1985, Marimekko found itself in a financial mess. In the 90s, it was bought by Kirsti Paakkanen, who is credited with turning it around. It got a further boost by Sarah Jessica Parker (the modern day Jackie O.), who sported Marimekko on the hit show Sex and the City. Though I must admit I see Carrie as more Manolo than Marimekko.

Finally, I just have to say I would love to score this Marimekko version of a bean bag called the Fatboy. These fatboys belong in my family room! But man, I need to be rich to get them for all of us!  Or even one!

Regardless, I am thrilled the company has survived and prospered and is opening up a flagship store in NYC. Guess what’s on my site-seeing list when I am there next week?


3 Responses to “Flower Power”


  1. Luck Be a Lady « mid-century MODERN LOVE - November 30, 2011

    […] Dwell Magazine’s ‘What’s Your Favorite Marimekko Design?’ I am all about Marimekko as you know, which made it not so easy to pick my favorite. There should be some kind of guide to […]

  2. ‘Really tied the room together’ | mid-century MODERN LOVE - November 3, 2011

    […] me, that was my birthday present from Maeve. We know I love all things Marimekko and Maeve knew I was a little bummed to miss visiting the new flagship store when we were in NYC a […]

  3. Weekend Show and Tell – Halloween Special | mid-century MODERN LOVE - October 15, 2011

    […] my Marimekko post earlier this week, I was excited to see this gorgeous Marimekko pumpkin tablecloth.  It’s […]

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