Talk about a storied hand-me-down: One of the featured lots at a Marimekko auction in Helsinki next month is a skirt created by founder Armi Ratia. It was sourced from Ratia’s daughter, who had received it from her mother in the 1950s.
Titled “The Artists Who Shaped Us,” the auction of vintage dresses and artworks is to mark the Finnish fashion house’s 70th anniversary. Nordic auction house Bukowskis is hosting the online sale from Sept. 10 to 19.
Lots include a smock dress with large dots that is reminiscent of a print used in a recent collaboration with Japanese fashion chain Uniqlo.
Ratia was a pioneer in inviting young artists and designers to create textile patterns for Marimekko, which became synonymous with bold, colorful and graphic motifs. Its print archive spans more than 3,500 prints by various creatives.
Marimekko staged its first fashion show in 1951 at the Kalastajatorppa hotel in Helsinki, and the company’s first store opened in the city the following year.
“Marimekko’s 70-year history revolves around the art of printmaking, with each print representing a creative collaboration between an artist and the company,” according to Sanna-Kaisa Niikko, chief marketing officer of Marimekko. “With this project, we want to pay homage to artists who have left their mark in our design language, and from our end, also bring forth Marimekko dress gems that have lasted time throughout decades. It is our aim that Marimekko products will never be thrown away but will be passed on from one generation to the next.”
Sara Bourke, PR & brand director of Helsinki-based Bukowskis, lauded Marimekko as “one of the most creative and appreciated design houses in Scandinavia.”
Among artists featured in the auction are Björn Dahlström, Brita Flander, Paavo Halonen, Erja Hirvi, Hanna-Kaisa Korolainen, Maija Louekari, Heikki Orvola, Sami Ruotsalainen, Carina Seth Andersson, Ilkka Suppanen, Astrid Sylwan and Jenni Tuominen. Works include drawings, paintings, ceramics and glassware.
Marimekko has so far marked its anniversary year with a Thames & Hudson art book, a digital fashion party, and a vintage sale that saw 60-some looks evaporate within 15 minutes.