Posted by: debrakolkka | September 18, 2011

Marimekko is 60 years old

Marimekko is one of the reasons I love to go to Helsinki. I have been sewing with their colourful fabrics for nearly 40 years. When I was in Helsinki in May they had just celebrated their 60th birthday. They must be doing something right.

the 60th birthday party table

Marimekko was founded in 1951 by Viljo and Armi Ratia. The company has become known for its bold, colourful patterns used on fabrics, dinnerware and home decoration. Jacqueline Kennedy made Marimekko popular in America when she wore their dresses on the 1960 Presidential Campaign.

a Marimekko table set with Iitala glass

Under the current CEO Marimekko has spread all over the world, taking their brightly coloured designs far and wide.

the fun new Marimekko store in Helsinki

I liked the print in the window so much I bought enough for my long outdoor table at home. It was used for the first time today when I invited my young friend from Sardegna for lunch.

getting ready for lunch

say hello to Rossella

I'm a Marimekko fan

The next photo has nothing to do with Marimekko. For dessert I made the Campari and vanilla mandarin tart from the Delicious magazine (Australia, September issue).  It was a bit fiddly, but the result was worth it. Take a look.

Campari and vanilla mandarin tart

The recipe was for 6 small tarts, but I made one big one. Give it a go. Look on page 91 for the photo and 95 for the recipe.


  1. Stunning fabrics – love the bold, colourful designs. Wish I’d learned how to sew and such-like…. Sigh….

    • Marimekko make such happy prints and the colours are wonderful.

  2. Oh yes I remember so well when we could first buy Marimekko dresses for children in the seventies in Brisbane – it was wonderful quality , eye catching, and expensive – never wore out – My daughter’s dress was then lovingly handed on to another little girl.

    • I made curtains from Marimekko fabric in the 70s. I still have the fabric.

  3. I would love to go to that Marimekko shop!!! Your lunch table looks great – as does the mandarin tart!!!

    • You would love the Marimekko shop in Helsinki. I never leave without a new piece of fabric.

  4. I love Marimekko simply for its eye-catching designs. Spied the wonderful herb pots outside the Marimekko shop and assume these are included in the designs. Love the way you displayed the fabrics in your courtyard, Deb, also the scrumptious-looking mandarin tart. Bet it tasted just as good!

    • The mandarin tart was indeed delicious.

  5. I love Marimekko too – they have fantastic designs! Your Marimekko outdoor design looks beautiful! A bit like many homes and summer places in Finland!

    • I have a bit of a collection of Marimekko fabric waiting to be turned into something.

  6. Love the fabrics and love the tart.

    • I’ll have to make one for you one day.

  7. I had Marrimekko curtains in my nursery when I was a baby circa 1959 – they reissued the print a couple of years ago but I can’t see it on their site today. It is imprinted on my psyche as only your nursery curtains can be. It has a little girl with apple shaped cheeks in a stripey dress on it amongst other things. My mother wore clothes by Marrimekko too. There’s a big revival of Scandi style going on here at the moment, the magazines are full of it. As for that tart, mmmmmm!!!!

    • I love that some of the prints have been around for decades. My favourite is the stylised flower print. I may go a bit Marimekko in the Vergemoli house. The tart was excellent.

  8. Marimekko prints will never go out of fashion as they are excellent designs which do not date.
    The tart looks delicious!!!!

    • Marimekko is very popular all over the world right now and has had a bit of a resurgence in Finland as well. There are Marimekko shops all over Finland.

  9. Wonderful I loved the colours… amazing. Thank you for sharing with us, with my love, nia

    • Marimekko is a lot of fun.

  10. The Marimekko shop looks amazing. There was a shop here now sadly closed that sold some Marimekko, I bought a bedspread there which is strewn with large flower like the ones on the green cushions on your bench except the flowers on my bedspread are red, just looking at it cheers me up. Your outdoor eating area looks fab and the tart looks delicious.

    • I see a bit of Marimekko in Italy, not the fabric, but some of the accessories and some homewares. That flower print is one of my all time favourites. I think D & G used it last summer.

  11. Finland has some really great designers. I do love Scandinavian design in general but Finnish design is something lovely indeed 🙂

    • Helsinki is the design capital for 2012. I need to find out a bit more about this. I’ll be there soon.

  12. Oh those prints are really gorgeous, i love big bold colours like that and your table looks wonderful.. I am not really UP on what is fashionable now that i live out here in the midwest and so am very envious of your shopping! c

    • Marimekko is always around. The designs and colours are fun and happy and I think this is why it is popular. It is almost beyond fashion.

  13. Marimekko have always had amazing colours and prints. I remember visiting their Sydney shop in Queen St a lot in the 70’s. That’s aging isn’t it!

    • There is nothing wrong with remembering the 70s.

  14. Thank you for this. I am a huge fan of Marimekko.

    • Their prints are so cheerful, how could you not love them?

  15. Beautiful!

    • She is beautiful.

  16. I do believe I had a Marimekko sun-dress made for me by my mother in the 70s – it’s bringing back some lovely memories 🙂
    Just located a store in Edinburgh that sells Marimekko products. I do believe that I shall be raiding it sometime after next week 😉
    Thanks for bringing this to my attention!

    • They possible have the same print as you wore then.

  17. The company where I for years was one of the first in the US to carry Marimekko. I have lots of their fabric that I use as tablecloths and I just unearthed a whole box filled with various Mekko wallpaper!

  18. Interesting designs!
    Certainly they have been doing something right after 60 years.
    The tart looks sooo good!

    • The tart was very good.

  19. The prints are nice & colorful! It’s amazing how you can just plan a trip to Helsinki just to shop. I’m so jealous, hope I’ll live in Europe someday too. I’m so in love with it 🙂

    • I travel between Australia and Italy twice a year. I usually fly Finnair. I really like the airline and a bonus is that I get to stop in Helsinki along the way. Australia is far from everything so spending 5 – 6 months a year in Europe is wonderful. Italy is quite central in Europe so it is not too far to so many amazing things.

  20. What gorgeous fabrics! I love that you’ve been supporting them for 2/3 of their life, Deb! 🙂

    • I love the fabrics. I will have to find some way of using my collection.

  21. Gorgeous prints. I just had a look at their clothing range for kids and women too. Very nice!

    • Marimekko is quite expensive in Australia, but much more reasonable in Finland.

  22. Gosh, I adore this fabric! How sweet and bright and colorful. Hope you had a great weekend, Deb!

    • I did have a good weekend. I hope yours was fun too.

  23. I made bedroom curtains for our girls when we lived in North Qld with Marimekko fabric: lime green background, red and white spotted cows, red and yellow spotted giraffes, yellow lions with face-surrounding red manes and sweet little blue houses and apple dotted trees. When we moved and the girls were bigger the curtains became a large, three-person bean bag ideal for squashing into to read stories. I remember reading Roald Dahl’s the BFG with them in that cheerful bag and we laughed ’til we had to stop reading. Then, when they were beyond my story reading, Robin turned the bag into a pair of fisherman-style pants and still has them. Marimekko gave us good memories. Now, to that sumptious lunch and that wonderful tart – gimme ‘structions and I’ll get my ‘quipment ready:)

    • I have good memories of Marimekko too. Go to Delicious for the instructions – it is mighty fine.

  24. Oh, I have always LOVED Marimekko fabrics! Aren’t they beautiful? So simple and stunning. They are gorgeous for curtains or anything around the house. Thank you for posting this!

    • I think Marimekko fabrics would brighten any house.

  25. […] here to see another post on Marimekko, and here to see Marimekko’s 60th birthday celebrations in the […]

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