Textile length, 'Eve', screen-printed cotton, designed by Katsuji Wakisaka for Marimekko, Helsinki, Finland, 1972
Textile length, 'Eve', screen-printed cotton, designed by Katsuji Wakisaka (b 1944) for Marimekko, Helsinki, Finland, 1972.
This colourful semi-abstract expressionist design hand screen-printed on cotton in strong colours is characteristic of the bold Marimekko furnishing fabric designs Marion Hall Best sold through her Queen Street, Woollahra shop from the late 1950s.
The Finnish textile company Marimekko (established Helsinki, 1949) has been one of the most conspicuous design success stories of the 20th century. Founded as a subsidiary of a company called Printex in Helsinki in 1949, Marimekko flourished for over half a century (and continues to do so today), its success due largely to the dynamic personality and independent design philosophy of its founder Armi Ratia (1912-79). Marimekko opened its first store in Helsinki in 1953, producing hand-printed cotton fabrics and clothing, and began exporting in 1956. However it wasn't until the 1960s that the company's vivid, boldly patterned fabrics really began to capture the attention of world markets, ostensibly due to Jacqui Kennedy's much-publicised purchase of Marimekko dresses in 1958. By the mid 60s Marimekko had become the last word in modern interior decoration and liberated women's fashions.
Today, Marrimekko's strong, bright fabrics are making a comeback with the re-release of several iconic 60s and 70s patterns by Maija Isola (b. 1927) and Katsuji Wakisaka (born 1944).
Anne-Marie Van de Ven, Curator 2002
Reference: Mod to Memphis:Design in Colour 1960s-1980s, Anne Watson, Powerhouse Publishing 2002
Designed by Katsuji Wakisaka (b 1944) for Marimekko, Finland
Hand printed for Marimekko, Helsinki, Finland
Purchased from Marion Hall Best's interior decorating shop in Queen Street, Woollahra by Isobel Craig. Furnishing fabric used by the Bowie-Wilson (donors) family.