Collection Online
screenprinted cotton
77.0 cm (centre back) 61.0 cm (waist, flat)
Place/s of Execution
Helsinki, Finland
label, centre back, woven in black on white synthetic fabric: marimekko / SUOMI-FINLAND / 38
Accession Number
International Fashion and Textiles
Credit Line
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Gift of Roslyn Marshall, 1996
© MARIMEKKO, Helsinki/Maija ISOLA
Gallery location
Not on display

Maija Isola was a leading Finnish designer of printed textiles. Her bold colourful designs made Marimekko famous in the 1960s. Early on, Marimekko’s clean, loose-fitting smock-like dresses, skirts, trousers and shirts in crisp cotton were designed to liberate women from the tight, body-shaping dresses of the 1950s. The clothes were unconventional, informal and accessible to anyone, no matter their age or size. The name Marimekko means ‘a dress for Mary’ – that is, the woman on the street.

In 1960 Annika Rimala became Marimekko’s chief fashion designer. She presented her first fashion show the following year, including fabrics designed by Oiva Toikka (see his glass designs at the other end of this exhibition). The colours and forms of Rimala’s 1960s designs were inspired by the era’s youth culture. Her designs were notable for their use of large-scale patterns, which she varied depending on the dress style: the shorter the dress the larger the pattern. Rimala tested her patterns in black and white and only added colour when certain that the pattern and style were compatible.