Marimekko jogged people’s memories with an upbeat spring 2018 collection that illustrated the staying power of its patterns.

Stripes came in all forms. Wide and wavy, running sideways on a sleeveless dress in perfect blue, or thin and wavering, vertically, on another black-and-white number with sleeves this time that stopped just below the elbows.

The signature Unikko poppies came in black and pale pink, printed on an elegant smock-like dress as well as a loose silk trouser set.

And don’t forget the Tasaraita print, whose evenly distributed, black-and-white stripes date back to 1968, a unisex look for a generation seeking to level the playing field. In a first, this season the house printed it on a woven cotton.

It was a gentle reminder, but the label’s message was clear: Gender equality? Lifestyle? Wake up, folks — Marimekko’s been doing this since the Fifties and Sixties.

To prove the point, the house lugged over a bolt of cloth fixed on a sturdy industrial stand from its factory in Helsinki that weighed nearly 800 pounds. They used it to build a towering display of the printing process. The stems of the poppy pattern are printed first. The pale flower centers come before the bright red pedals. Finally comes the background, jazzed up with a perfect blue. The loops of cloth stretched from floor to ceiling, high above the models.

“I really don’t sell clothes. I sell a way of living. They are designs, not fashions…I sell an idea rather than dresses,” said the brand’s founder, Armi Ratia, in 1963.

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