11 May 2007

Style Scoop: marimekko crosses the Atlantic to DC

Important details first.

(marimekko DC's home and blog)

8519 Georgia Avenue
Silver Spring, Maryland
Right by all the new growth, and right across the street from cakelove, for you devotees (I'm not, but more on that later).

Quick summary second.

Brilliant textile-based design from Finland. Clothes, bags, linens, small housewares, and bolts and bolts of lovely patterned fabric. Non-fluffy, dry-worthy towels, too (which H and I can never, ever find here).

Mission: Create beauty for people's everyday lives.

Relatively reasonable prices (adorable child's t-shirt, $30 - ridiculous, on one hand, but on the other, the things really are gorgeous).

Close enough to Chipotle that you can swing by there (despite the brilliant catered food at the opening) afterwards, even if it is 9 o'clock at night and you know that you'll regret it later.

What it reminds people of? IKEA. Yup. It's a little bass-ackwards, but when you walk in, you just might think - oh! they're copying IKEA! The other way around. marimekko is known for their simple, sophisticated patterns and colors. It's that simple elegance I think defines Scandanavian style - and yet, they somehow retain a sense of humor that American competitor brands never achieve. If we could only get our office building to install a KONE Deco elevator in which there's a marimekko image on the back wall), I'd be happy.

IKEA references aside, marimekko is a design concept - and store - worth visiting. And to go on a mini-rant, the Daily Candy pitch this week just didn't do it justice, in my estimation. It's an intelligent brand, perfect for the cerebral fashionista of DC. Clothing is simple and structured, yet easy and no-nonsense. Architectural, to a point. The fabrics are amazing - jerseys are the softest cotton you've ever felt (H couldn't keep his hands off of one understated logo T), and the "oxfords" are jauntily textured.

And then there was the party.

As Babsie D wrote, it made people happy (at least me, H, pandahead, and a few others we partied with). The feel was as bright and airy as the design. Fortunately for me, there were no cakelove cupcakes in sight (Warren Brown was a co-host). Cookies, yes, cupcakes, no.* The few models wandering the party were inviting, not intimidating, and the crowd was, like the designs, smart, curious, and clearly willing to buy (the registers were ringing all night). My one real disappontment? I didn't get to meet Pamela Deutsch, one of the What Not to Wear producers, and another host. I'm of course not sure what I would've talked to her about, nevertheless... (check out Kelly's review of the store at DC Culture and Fashion, too).

H and I resisted buying a itsy-bitsy Bean outfit. It's just the kind of childlike sophistication I imagine my Brilliant Bean to have (and yes, yes, yes, I do realize that everything will eventually turn one color and I won't care anymore, but please let me hold my fantasy for just a little while longer). A return trip is definitely in order.

Oh - and nearly forgot. Must say that the press materials and guest gift bags were some of the most thoughtful I've seen. Sweet pieces from the Paaryna (Spring 07) collection - a mug that now graces my office desk (much better than the lame sample one I have from the mug supply company), and a darling little tray that now holds my (IKEA, ironically enough) water pitcher and glass on my nightstand (M people get incredibly thirsty during the night).

*The one I had last year (and yes, it was at room temperature) was a disappointing disaster. How can one screw up chocolate raspberry?

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