Marimekko is widely known for its bold and vivacious patterns, but few are as memorable—or have as rich a story—as the Unikko print. With its candy-apple-red hue and painterfly, oft-misshapen flower petals, the botanic pattern that has become synonymous with the Finnish brand is both unique and distinctive. To put it simply, it's hard to miss. And although the company has branched out to other endeavors (most notably, its recent collaboration with Banana Republic on a range of dotty designs), it's the Unikko print that remains the most easily identifiable, and quintessentially Marimekko, of them all.
The pattern, which translates to "poppy" in Finnish, came to be after founder Armi Ratia publicly condemned floral patterns, believing that they pale in comparison to those found in nature. Fortunately, then-designer Maija Isola decided to rebel against Ratia's wishes and painted a series of flowers in protest. Once Ratia saw Isola's designs, she appreciated them for the new, graphic patterns that they were, and immediately included them in her collection. And the print, now Marimekko's most iconic to date, has remained there ever since.
So it comes as no surprise that, to celebrate Unikko's 50th anniversary, the label is launching a capsule collection of clothing, housewares, and various fabrics adorned with the pattern as a special form of tribute (available online at us.marimekko.com). And it doesn't stop there: For years, the print has been spotted all over the world, commanding eyes wherever it has traveled. "There's a happiness surrounding the print," womenswear designer Mika Piirainen tells InStyle. "It's incredibly versatile and has the ability to be shown in so many ways."