Bendigo Art Gallery to open Marimekko exhibition on Saturday, March 3

ICONIC 1960s designs featuring bright colours will be on display in Bendigo Art Gallery’s new exhibition.

The exhibition features the internationally-recognised Finnish textile and fashion company Marimekko. Developed by Design Museum, Helsinki, the exhibition features almost 300 pieces.

After starting life with a small fashion show in a Helsinki restaurant in 1951, textile and fashion company Marimekko would go on to be a hugely popular and internationally recognised label.

Bendigo Art Gallery’s exhibition follows the rise of Marimekko in the 1950s to the popularity it had in the 1960s following Jacqueline Kennedy wearing a number of the company’s dresses during John F Kennedy’s presidential campaign.

Helsinki’s Design Museum curator Harry Kivilinna said people from all over the world recognised Marimekko designs.

“Maybe its colours and designs which are quite unique but it is interesting that people recognise them. They seem to be very popular in Australia,” Mr Kivilinna said.

“(The exhibition has) all kinds of dresses from the 1950s to today as well as colour samples and fabrics.

“We have huge collection. The company gave some (designs and garments) to the museum collection in 1986 and people have also donated privately to the collection.

“It is very lucky that we can do this kind of exhibition which has almost 300 pieces including 60 dresses, maybe 50 fabrics and all kinds of material and objects.”

Bendigo Art Gallery senior curator Leanne Fitzgibbon said it was thrilling to bring another international exhibition to Bendigo.

“Working with the design museum in Helsinki has been a great opportunity,” she said.

“Many would be familiar with the name Marimekko but not many people would understand the history of design through the company.

“It’s a wonderful chance to showcase quality designs. Australians have loved Marimekko designs for decades.

Ms Fitzgibbon said the fabrics were the stars of the exhibition.

“The garments are almost secondary because the fabrics really are the stars,” she said.

“Marimekko was exceptionally popular in the 1960s and ‘70s in Australia.

“What's interesting is the timelessness of the designs. They were popular in the ‘60s and ‘70s but have been revisited and reworked for contemporary audiences.”

Marimekko: Design Icon 1951 to 2018 is on at Bendigo Art Gallery from March 3 to June 11.

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