Marimekko's Noora Niinikoski: "Be Bold, Brave, Colorful, Positive, Happy, and Full of Energy"
Right before Finnish label Marimekko's first-ever New York Fashion Week show, we caught up with creative director Noora Niinikoski, who's in charge of designing the iconic, print-heavy collection.
Here's what Niinikoski had to say about the brand's 60+-year history, how she tries to incorporate heritage into her present collection, and the label's plans for US expansion.
StyleBistro: Your prints have been really well-known for over sixty years—are any of these old prints or all they all new prints this season?
Noora Niinikoski: We always do a combination of old and new. We have something like over 3,000 prints in our archives. I think what's amazing about Marimekko is that we have such timeless, iconic pieces there that they stay fresh over the decades. And that's actually The Thing that I need to work with, and I'm taking into the future. I want to create a similar strength, you know, strong prints that last for decades.
SB: How do you incorporate the brand's history, while still keeping it modern and fresh?
NN: I think it's really easy, in a way, to capture the feeling that's in the air at the moment. I like to pick up the best and craziest ones that fit the best for the seasonal feeling, and do an interesting combination of both the graphic ones, the stripes, the florals, the bold, and the more quiet. So, it's really about that diversity that Marimekko is about.
SB: So for this season what would you say the feeling is, what were you going for ultimately?
NN: We started with the very core ideas of Marimekko. We focused on color. And in a way I feel that Marimekko has invented its own color theory, over these years, and this certain characteristic way of using color, and how to make combinations, and which tones we select. I focused on that.
And then at the same time we were inspired by the abstraction of nature and how we can see color-blocking ideas in the landscapes and how that creates interesting stripes and rhythms, and how we do an abstraction of flowers and kind of like a bold image we can create. It was really very much about the iconic approach of being bold and brave and colorful and positive and happy and full of energy.
SB: So this is your first fashion week in New York, are you planning on expanding in the US?
NN: Sure I'm planning. I have loads of plans, yes, ha ha. So we have a flagship store here, we have a store in Boston, and we are opening new stores this autumn in Beverly Hills, and Palo Alto. And yeah, that's just the beginning!
Now that you've gotten to know the label and its designer a little bit better, here are our five favorite runway looks from the spring 2013 collection—some of which were even worn by legendary super models Carmen Dell'Orefice, Carol Alt and Pat Cleveland!
1) Pink and green separates perfect for an afternoon in the park or at the museum:
2) A really sweet polka-dot jacket:
3) Garden party, anyone? (P.S. Carmen Dell'Orefice is the cutest model, ever.)
4) We picked this look for the wave print on the neckline, and the double dose of dots:
5) This color-combo is one of our faves—and the silhouette is the perfect shift.
Which look is your favorite? Let us know in the comments!