A Little Bit Dramatic

Seeing spots (and dots and stripes and swirls) with Marimekko

“There must be a reason to dirt a fine white cloth with print.” – Armi Ratia

Its fitting that an exhibit on Marimekko should take place at a textile museum. While the Finnish clothing company wouldn’t be out of place on display in an art gallery or costume institute, Marimekko is really defined above all else by its fabric. After all, one doesn’t immediately recognize a Marimekko dress by its cut or even its label; it’s those eye-catching, popping prints that you can see from space that have been the label’s defining factor and constant for the past six decades.

“Marimekko, With Love,” curated by Shauna McCabe, will be on display until April 21st at Toronto’s Textile Museum. If you’re in Toronto, it provides an opportunity to truly immerse yourself in a kaleidoscope of prints. The show is a retrospective, technically, but trying to pick out the difference between a Marimekko dress from the early days and one from last week is an exercise in futility.

Marimekko opened in Finland post World War II. From its inception, it has always been about finding that fusion between fabric and art. Armi Ratia, whose husband had just purchased a small fabric company, began to curate designs from young contemporary artists. The dresses became literal canvases for young artists to develop prints and in 1951, a company was born.

The patterns might appear to be as uniform as a designer logo plastered all over a collection of handbags, but the company’s artists referenced everything—see a pattern in nature? Blow it up and set it against a contrasting colour. The consistency in patterns comes out of the similar treatment granted to unique motifs. Architecture, folk patterns, flora, and fauna are all fair game.

At the exhibit, many people showed up wearing Marimekko. We were able to spot from a distance even amongst the patterns on display, an unmistakable bat signal of pop art. I went to the show with former Wornette Katie. Unlike some of our coworkers, neither of us come to fashion from a textile background, and it was our first visit to the textile museum. We were Marimekko babies, wide eyed and ready to learn something new. In our excitement, we at one point stopped recording the exhibit and instead started recording the other attendees, regardless of what brands they were wearing.

The word “timeless” gets thrown around the fashion lexicon a lot. Ironically, it’s usually used to reference a very insular aesthetic—one with clean lines, muted colours, and anything that can blend into the background. the company is very much of its time, born out of a post-war hope and ready to align itself with the eager optimism of the upcoming sixties. But what’s most remarkable about it is that while it is such a specific look, it is one that is accessible and applicable across multiple continents, decades, and generations. In a room filled with Marimekko, each pattern still stands out.

For more about Marimekko, see issue 4 of WORN Fashion Journal.

photography // Katie Merchant

Emily Wornette

Our newest intern didn't let a dial-up Internet connection hold her back

My interest in style and clothing started at a very young age, when my hippie parents allowed me to dress myself. (Thanks, Mom and Dad!) Since then I’ve been slowly collecting all the cast-off figure skating outfits in Eastern Ontario. I’ve written for Plaid Magazine, Exclaim! and my university newspaper, The Queen’s Journal. I’m very excited to be working as an intern on WORN’s editorial and publishing boards. On any given day you can find me riding my bike around Toronto, salvaging unwanted clothing, manically applying lipstick, window shopping, and getting into trouble.

I’m so happy to have found WORN and, at long last, to be a Wornette.

Girls and Guns
This Tumblr curated by photographer Petra Collins is awesome. The photos manage to be both raw and whimsical. Collins finds stills of girls who are diverse, who confront the camera, and who are sexy. These collections of photos have helped me harvest my inner slut and make me want to move to a trailer park and shoot guns in cut-offs.

Another Mag Loves
This blog is where my dreams take shape. Can I afford this new Celine bag, Yves Saint Laurent tuxedo dress, or Dom Pérignon X David Lynch? Hi, no. Absolutely not. Do I enjoy looking at them? Of course, yes. Very much. We’re all in the ditch but some of us are looking at a $5,493.92 Fornasetti balaclava chair. Thanks, Internet.

Facehunter was my first introduction to a fashion blog. Growing up in rural Ontario, street style didn’t exactly exist—probably because there was only one street in my town. With my parents’ dial-up Internet connection I used to wait for what felt like days to see each new photo. When the pictures finally loaded I was reminded that there were other cape-wearing girls on bicycles out there. And here I am, years later, still loving that affirmation.

Thank You, Ok
I love Katie Merchant’s blog because we both live in Toronto but she somehow manages to make this city look pretty. Merchant sees the loveliness in the concrete jungle, when I sometimes just see the sullen faces of the TTC and my chipped manicure. Her blog has inspired me to put on rose-tinted glasses every once and a while and invest in some overpriced Chanel nail lacquer.

I was so happy when Hazlitt was launched this past summer. Senior Editor Alexandra Molotkow is one of my favourite writers—anyone who manages to earnestly defend Here Comes Honey Boo Boo has my attention. Hazlitt, like WORN, engages in a more personal style of writing than many other sites. It has encouraged me to work on my own writing and to be fearless in my use of the word “I.”

photography // Zoe Vos

Worn to WORN: Katie Nails It

What inspired this outfit?
I mostly wear black, but it was an exceptionally warm day, so I decided to put on this new (old) skirt from 69 Vintage which flows in the breeze really nicely. I was also going to a fashion show that evening, so I wanted to wear something a bit different from what I usually wear.

Tell me about one of the items you’re wearing.
My leather tote is from Joe Fresh and it’s my favourite thing these days. It’s perfect for packing magazines and lunches, which I bring to work daily.

What’s the best book to read in this outfit?
Hmm… I think this skirt is sort of romantic, so maybe something like My Mistress’s Sparrow is Dead, which is a collection of love stories edited by Jeffrey Eugenides, or The Marriage Plot, whichever.

Shopping Credits
Shirt from Fawn, skirt from 69 Vintage, silver collar from Bicyclette, tote from Joe Fresh, bracelet by Jenny Bird, and clogs and sunglasses from Chasse Gardée [R.I.P. :(:(:(].

photography // Serah-Marie McMahon

Book Review: American Fashion Cookbook

Food and Fashion. Fashion and Food. We wake up. We decide what to wear. We decide what to eat. The capricious whims of our visual appetites guide our sartorial and culinary decisions. But food and fashion also have something important and practical in common: they are art forms through which we express ourselves effortlessly, everyday.

So it’s natural that fashion designers, masters of another kind of taste, would want to apply their à la minute aesthetics to our daily bread. Enter the American Fashion Cookbook; a compilation of more than a 100 eclectic and dependable recipes contributed by the members of the Council of Fashion Designers of America. Dishes range from Marc Ecko’s “Adults Only” Chocolate Chip Cookies to Tory Burch’s Andalusian Gazpacho.
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