Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Marimekko Fashion Show

Marimekko fashion show

The Marimekko fashion show is sort of a spring tradition In Helsinki. It usually takes place either in late May or early June, and right in the middle of a busy park. There are several shows a day, and it's open to the public (it's the current collection, or what you can find in stores right now). So, I was there last Friday, my camera ready, to bring you a few pictures and my thoughts on what I saw.

Yes, it was a spectacular show. And the clothes had some catwalk appeal, sure. And no, this is not going to be a glowing review.

Don't get me wrong, I love Marimekko . Well, I'm a bit biased, of course, being a Finn... Actually, I think for a Finn to say anything negative about Marimekko is the same as saying anything negative about Ice Hockey or Heavy Metal, i.e. considered a treason of sorts...

But I'm going to risk it by saying that Marimekko is losing its edge, and letting down its customers. And I'm going to tell you why.

Marimekko summer 2016 fashion show
Marimekko summer 2016

What happened to colour?

Marimekko is, after all, known for their quirky patterns and bright colours...

Given that in the past few years Marimekko has had a few very successful collaborations (first with Banana Republic and this year with Target) showcasing some of the iconic prints in vivid colours, you would expect them to dig deeper in their archives and produce something similar. Or at least some colourful accessories (umbrellas, bags etc with some of the retro patterns, maybe? Just a thought...).

But no, black and white dominated the show. So much so that I was beginning to think that Armi Ratia must be turning in her grave...

Of course, there was some colour, too, though not as much as you might expect from this iconic label. Perhaps it's the Nordic women's (and in particular Finnish women's) fear of colour preference for neutral tones and black, who knows.

Marimekko summer 2016
Marimekko summer 2016
Marimekko summer 2016

And the shapes?

I love Marimekko textiles (bed linen, towels) and kitchenware (trays, bowls, plates, glasses), but as far as clothes are concerned, this fashion show had very little to offer. For one, I've always found that while shapeless sack dresses may look pretty on slim, tall models, the average woman would do better with a bit more fitted clothes. Such as for example the eminently more wearable pieces in the Banana Republic and Target collaborations. Or the slightly more fitted, 60's inspired shift dresses Marimekko had a few years back. I know, I should have bought one then...

But judging by what they sent down the catwalk this time, I think Marimekko is letting down its roots (never mind if they call it 'an homage to strong women' such as the company founder Armi Ratia and some of the well-known designers).

Why do I feel this way? Marimekko used to be a brand for every woman. Literally. In my childhood, (late 60's, early 70's) there was hardly a Finnish woman (or a man or a child) who didn't own a piece by Marimekko. The clothes were fun and quirky, but more importantly wearable and accessible. Anyone could wear Marimekko, and there was something for everyone, that was the idea. And now... Well, two friends of mine who also saw the fashion show were quick to say they wouldn't wear any of the outfits we saw. One of them even said some of the outfits reminded her of her mother's nighties from the 60's...

Marimekko summer 2016
Marimekko summer 2016
Marimekko summer 2016
Marimekko summer 2016

I'm sure I will keep buying Marimekko textiles, kitchenware and accessories but as for clothes...
I tend to prefer clothes that flatter the body I have (yes, I'm curvy, and it's highly unlikely I will suddenly get significantly taller), and clearly there was not much there to help me with this. But, I did buy a pair of really cool Marimekko sunglasses a while back, so maybe there is some hope. Now, if we could juts get a really cool line of accessories in some of the retro prints, please. I'm thinking bags, umbrellas, wellies, raincoats...

Tiina
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10 comments

  1. I love black myself, but when I was still working(in a womenswear store)we all new that black didn t sell! Overall black is not a color women want to wear. But you had a nice day at the park I hope?

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    1. In Finland black definitely sells. Sometimes I feel that's all I see: women dressed in black. Or in neutral tones in general, beige or white in summer. Marimekko used to be the choice for people not afraid of colour.

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  2. I love some of the black and white stuff though (being tall and a lover of black and white). I didn't even know the brand still existed. (Shame on me.) It was huge in The Netherlands in the seventies. But I get what you say about shape and colour in this collection.
    Greetje

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    Replies
    1. Oh yes, Marimekko is still a big company, and they have quite nice homeware range. But yes, the 60's and the 70's were 'the golden era' of the company.

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  3. Not sure about the polka dotted outfits ;) But, I love the lady with the oversized striped bag and the navy dress outfit with the adorable yellow shoes. How fun that it was at the park!

    Carrie
    curlycraftymom.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The striped bag is my favourite, too, and one of the few things I could imagine getting myself.

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  4. Oh yeah I'm disappointed too. Where is all the fun color prints?! But still how fun to have a fashion show in the park! Thanks so much for being a part of Fun Fashion Friday!

    OXOX
    Dawn Lucy
    http://fashionshouldbefun.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They have a fashion show (or actually it's 4 shows one day) every year, and it's usually in the same park. It's a fun way to kick off summer.

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  5. This looks like so much fun, and the styles are actually so much more appealing than what they sold at Target!

    Zhenya
    http://beingzhenya.com

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    Replies
    1. I've only seen pictures of the Target collection, but I know the prints from way back (I even have some items with the same prints that I bought a few years ago) and I loved them. This was just too much black and white for me. And too many sack dresses...

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