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Iconic Finnish design company Marimekko has become an emblem of innovative Scandinavian design. I popped by the Textile Museum of Canada on Sunday to drool over the mouthwatering prints and colours in their new exhibit, Marimekko, With Love, which runs until April 21st.

The retrospective looks at the origins of the company and its fundamental role in shaping a new approach to Finnish design. By using a bold, colourful aesthetic and blurring the lines between fashion and interior design, Marimekko claimed a venerated place in design history.

While wandering through the exhibit, visitors get a glimpse into the minds behind Marimekko, designer Armi Ratia and her husband Viljo, through photographs, film and insightful quotes. Marimekko wallpaper enlivens the gallery at every turn.

Yards of glorious fabric are hung like tapestries.

I found these original garments from the 1960s and '70s very Marni-esque. One of my favourite parts of the exhibit is the way the curators communicated Marimekko's conceptual approach to fashion and design. Armi Ratia's own words sum it up perfectly: "I don't really sell clothes. I sell a way of living. These are designs, not fashions… I sell an idea rather than dresses."

Original patterns and fabric swatches from the 1960s give a sense of their creative process.

I loved these vintage campaigns. The simplicity, functionality and clean lines speak to the company's modern Scandinavian aesthetic.

Shrine-like displays of textiles elevate the designs to a sacred level.

I don't know if I would be so brave as to wear something this colourful and bold, but it certainly revived the sense of risk and play that we should try to incorporate into our lives — whether through our work, clothes, or a bit of Marimekko wallpaper.

Photo credits:
1-8. Chloe Berge

Author: 

Chloe Berge

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