They’re bold, beautiful and eminently cheery—and recognizable whether on a tablecloth, bedspread or dress. Now, they’ll be ubiquitous as well. We’re speaking of the bright, splashy prints by Finnish design and textile company Marimekko, whose products helped lift Finland and Europe out of the post-World War II doldrums. Get ready for uplifting development right here, as Marimekko has teamed with Target to debut a new product line on April 17.
Marimekko for Target will include 200-some new pieces to usher in spring and summer with panache. On the docket is swimwear for women and girls sure to turn heads; outdoor furniture and décor including hammocks; and sporting goods (a new venture for Marimekko) including paddleboards (a must-have for SUP [stand-up paddleboard] enthusiasts!), tents, bocce ball sets and—in case you’re planning to jump out of a plane anytime soon—parachutes! Most pieces are priced under $50 and top out at about $500.
Designer Armi Ratia founded Marimekko in post-war Finland to bring color back into a dispirited culture. She asked her artist friends to design some bright, avant-garde prints for her husband’s oilcloth printing factory, but discovered people wanted to wear the new prints too—which is how Marimekko (which means “Mary’s dress” in Finnish) got its start.
Marimekko’s original Unikko colorway became one of the most beloved patterns in the world after debuting in 1964. “This new look became an almost anti-depressive prescription to help the country emerge from under the rubble of war: Marimekko was pure day-brightening, mood-altering happiness,” writes Alissa Walker in Gizmodo. “But none of the patterns would become as popular as Unikko (‘poppy’).”
First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy sported a Marimekko dress back in the day. Midcentury design enthusiasts avidly collected the fabrics and still do. Today, the Goldstein Museum of Design in St. Paul has a wonderful collection of Marimekko textiles. In recent years Marimekko has also shared its famous patterns with Crate & Barrel, H&M, and Converse, among other brands. And now, Target. The timing—as our gray and brown landscape has yet to turn green, and our spring bulbs haven’t dared to emerge—couldn’t be better.
According to the retailer, the new line is “all about play!” Because Finland enjoys 24-hour sunshine in the summer, “[t]hat glimpse into the local culture gave birth to the idea behind the Marimekko for Target collaboration: Two iconic brands joining forces to create the feeling of an eternal summer and carefree outdoor living by offering items that bring people together and encourage them to play!” according to a Target press release.
In the past, Target has collaborated with other dazzling brands with cheerful colors and graphic designs, including Lilly Pulitzer and Missoni. The limited-edition Marimekko collection will, no doubt, sell out just as quickly.
By Camille LeFevre
Photo via Target