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fashion: overview

Rediscovering Marimekko: a bold startRediscovering Marimekko: a bold start

H&M’s new head of design, Ann-Sofie Johansson, makes her mark with a collection inspired by Marimekko
illustrated by Liselotte Watkins


MARIMEKKO and Finland cannot be separated—the Marimekko brand, known for its bold, striking prints, is synonymous with the Scandinavian country and its style has been set since it first became well known outside its own region in the 1960s. Since then, Marimekko has stayed fairly true to its reputation, reinventing itself within strict confines of what people expect it to be.

It was a surprise to see that Marimekko is the latest label with which neighbouring Sweden’s Hennes & Mauritz has collaborated. Rather than labels such as Roberto Cavalli or Viktor & Rolf, the new H&M range in stores from April combines Marimekko’s bold prints with the chain’s mass appeal, a formula which has worked admirably
The prints are from Marimekko’s archive, rather than anything new. They come from the 1960s, but have been cut into styles more appealing to a 2008 audience
in seasons past. Its stores in all 28 countries where H&M is represented will carry the range, as well as 10 Corso Como in Milano and Seoul, and Dover Street Market in London.

The prints are from Marimekko’s archive, rather than anything new. They come from the 1960s, but have been cut into styles more appealing to a 2008 audience. The beachwear line features 1950s-style one-piece swimsuits and bikinis. Menswear features bold stripes, while children have matching prints on apron dresses and skirted swimsuits and even a teddy bear, says H&M.

Prices for the Tribute to Marimekko range begin for kids at €9,90 for the teddy bear, the men’s T-shirt begins at €19,90, and the women’s tunic top and sunhat begin at €14,90. They go on sale April 10.

H&M head of design Ann-Sofie Johansson, who has taken over from long-serving Margareta van den Bosch, now in semi-retirement, said that the company has always admired Marimekko’s ‘vivid prints and colours, and they feel so right for this season.’

The company points out that Marimekko first became well known internationally when Jacqueline Kennedy wore the brand during her husband’s 1960 presidential campaign.

Johansson has been at H&M since 1987, the year van den Bosch headed up its design department. She had previously been in charge of the company’s women’s collection.


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