Microsoft sees its hardware partnerships as working to create a "stage" for its software, which aims to help consumers and businesses live and work better. Now the software giant has teamed with Marimekko to add some fashion flair to that stage.The companies have brought to market this week Microsoft Surface products — skins and sleeves — that feature the designer's signature looks. The products include a Marimekko Type Cover (for Surface Pro) in Siirtolapuutarha or Kaivo. The companies said that Siirtolapuutarha (city garden) is designed by Maija Louekari and "is a brilliant line drawing that tells a tale of a journey from a bustling city to a lush, city garden overflowing with flowers and vegetables."Microsoft noted that the inspiration "for the classic Kaivo (well) pattern came to designer Maija Isola in 1964, as she dropped a bucket into a well and watched ripples form on the water surface." Also launching is a Marimekko Sleeve (for Surface Laptop and Pro) in Unikko and Räsymatto."Unikko (poppy) came to life in 1964 after Armi Ratia, Marimekko’s founder, announced that they would never print a flower pattern," the company said adding that in protest, "acclaimed designer Maija Isola created an entire series of gorgeous floral prints, including Unikko."Maija Louekari’s Räsymatto pattern recalls the "striped rugs made by using odd scraps of fabric common in the mid-20th century," which is still popular "today on the floors of Finnish summer cottages," the company said.Ralf Groene, head of industrial design at Microsoft, told WWD that the "project roots" of Marimekko "speak very much to how we think about modern design." He described it as having an aspect of "modern timelessness" as well. "I think, on a high level, we just inspire each other by the graphic language, and I think it very fits how we bring something as abstract as computing, to people," he explained.Groene also noted that the launch and partnership reflects how consumers look to products as extensions of themselves."I think the next step for technology is to become very personal, beyond just making products out of metal, but using different substances and materials," he said. "Such as the microfibers we have been using on our products. We worked for years on getting these to the level of performance, in terms of technical performance, to put them on products like laptops or type covers. Bringing technology closer to humans would be the 'big umbrella' statement."Groene said electronics will evolve into being more of an extension of humans, and in fact, we're half way there already. "Think about it, with all this personal stuff that lives inside the computer: your social network, bank account, stocks, ideas, work, projects. It is a very personal device in that context. It is also very important these devices behave as objects around people, in that type of relationship. That’s how we look at taking materials and mastering them, reducing elements and bringing out these type of products."Tiina Alahuhta-Kasko, chief executive officer of Marimekko, described the brand's design aesthetic as a "lifestyle philosophy" that is based on "empowering people to be happy as they are and bringing joy to everyday moments through bold prints and colors.""Marimekko’s founder Armi Ratia is known to have said that Marimekko could also equally well have taken any other form of art– it was the philosophy that mattered to her," Alahuhta-Kasko told WWD. "Marimekko and Microsoft Surface share an inclusive and positive approach to design. Electronic devices are very much present in our everyday lives these days, so the partnership with Microsoft Surface was a natural way to bring joy to people around the world and encourage them to express their personality."For his part, Groene said expression of one's personality is a broader trend worth considering. "It’s not enough to have this great product, they want to make it theirs," he told WWD. "They want to see that this is 'my computer' and express that they like skateboards as well. This whole entire thing about using this PC as a billboards. It’s a phenomenon. We should be embracing it. And I don’t think that it’s foreign to who we are. I just think that the foundation of our products is building us in a deeper platform to bringing PCs or computers closer to people."[caption id="attachment_11026391" align="aligncenter" width="433"] The Microsoft Surface now has add-on products in Aqua.[/caption]Groene noted that collaborations are also key. "We have a partnership with Adobe, for example," he said, adding that it's a partnership that is "inside the product" as software. "Our products are staged for software, in the sense that we want to bring software to people," he said. Groene also said product development process is requiring more from the creative side. And it requires context."It’s almost like when you design a great fashion," he said. "You don’t just want to look at the garment, you want to look at the person. I think the purpose of these objects is to celebrate the human, and that’s very much what we do inside and outside. It’s very hard."Alahuhta-Kasko said that there "seemed to be a natural connection between the two brands: both represent a bold and positive design thinking and want to encourage people to express themselves freely. We have now announced three Marimekko for Microsoft Surface products with different prints to the market — a sleeve, a skin and a type cover — and we are very excited to see how people receive them and adopt them into their everyday lives."
In honor the @CFDA’s announcement of @iamnaomicampbell receiving the Fashion Icon Award at the 2018 #CFDAAwards, which will take place on June 4, here’s a #tbt of the supermodel on @michaelkors’ runway in 1991. #wwdfashion #wwdarchive (📷: George Chinsee)
“I was making the guacamole when my scout saw me,” says model @stuckinteenage on being discovered just six months ago while working at @chipotlemexicangrill. Since then Williams has signed with @dnamodels, walked in her first show at @calvinklein and landed on the cover of @vogueitalia – a high point of any model’s career. To read @lisajlockwood’s full interview with the model on her experiences thus far, head to WWD.com – link in bio. (📷: George Chinsee)
“I love the idea of dialogue, period. It’s where I’ve always gotten my inspiration from: hearing other women speak, their journeys and their paths,” said @hereisgina, who delivered the keynote speech during @sxsw for @createcultivate in partnership with @fossil. For her two panels, Rodriguez chose female empowering, female-led and female entrepreneurs to focus on. Head to WWD.com to read more about her thoughts on Time’s Up, growing up in a family of women and why we “need a girls’ club.” #wwdeye #sxsw (📷: @jgreenery)
Leading luxury brand are shaking things up to keep up with streetwear. Case in point: the arrival of @mrkimjones as artistic director of @diorhomme. Jones, who succeeds @Kris_Van_Assche, is seen as one of the handful of designers who can actually straddle the luxury and streetwear worlds — which could lead to even more changes at established brands. What could this mean for the rest of the menswear landscape? Head to WWD.com to find out what experts predict #wwdfashion (📷: @franckmura)
“It’s like buying groceries. You’re going to buy the best mango, the best mozzarella, the best things. You have to, or others are going to take it all,” said @gabrielahearst on why she uses only the finest fabrics. Last week, Hearst received her first @cfda nomination for Womenswear Designer of the Year, and earlier this month she opened a permanent showroom in Paris. To read @jessiredale’s interview with the designer and find out why this is shaping up to be a big year for her, head to WWD.com. #wwdfashion (📷: @francoisgoize)
“It’s an interesting thing, playing a younger version of your mother. It’s an interesting concept. I adore my mom and love her in every capacity, but it was just something that had never crossed my mind,” says @anniemstarke on playing a young Joan Castleman in “The Wife.” The same role will be played by her mother Glenn Close. Read more about her growing up in the film industry as the daughter of producer John H. Starke and Close and what she has planned for the future #wwdeye (📷: @nataliamantini)
@asics is launching a new streetwear sneaker inspired by its latest ambassador, @steveaoki. The Hyper-Kenzen x Aoki, which will launch at @footlocker stores exclusively tomorrow, is a slip-on style that incorporates the brand’s proprietary Gel technology through beads integrated into the midsole for comfort and endurance. Read the full story on WWD.com.