When Target announced it was teaming up with Finnish design house Marimekko to launch a collection — available in stores and online April 17 — print junkies rejoiced.
Known for its brightly-colored printed fabrics and joyful designs, Marimekko was founded in Helsinki in 1951 by the print visionary Armi Ratia. She assembled a group of female artists and designers and asked them to create bold graphic designs for textiles. The result was bright, distinctive patterns inspired by folk art, geometric shapes, nature, and modern visual art.
In order to show how this unconventional fabric might be used, the company started a collection of dresses in simple, architectural shapes. Marimekko gained fame in the U.S. when Jacqueline Kennedy purchased seven dresses from the company, and wore them throughout the 1960 United States Presidential campaign. The dresses looked modern and optimistic.
There's still something carefree about the company's designs, filled with iconic stripes and prints, that has made them long-standing favorites. And frankly, it doesn't bode well for being able to actually score any of the goods through the big-box retailer.
With more then 200 items mostly priced under $50, the designs in the Marimekko for Target collection range from minimalistic to saturated flower-power pop. All the prints included in the collection were designed by Maija Isola, the most famous designer to work for the company. During her 40-year career she produced more than 500 designs. Hardcore Marimekko aficionados will recognize some of them, including Appelsiini, Kukkatori, Lokki, Paprika, Harka, Okariino, and Kaivo.
Target has become a leader in trendy design collaboration, but the downside is consumers have been known to feel burned when these capsule collections sell out too quickly. Last April, when Target released a Lilly Pulitzer collection, the items were snapped up and gone within hours. Bare shelves mocked would-be buyers, and in some locations, items were gone within minutes. Target shoppers were not amused.
There's no telling if the Marimekko collection will create the same kind of frenzy, but our advice is: Be prepared. Since time is precious, and these collaborations are intended to be limited in quantity, we've scoured the online look book and zeroed in on the items where we'd concentrate a laser-sharp focus in order to score at least a few of the Marimekko for Target collection pieces.
First things first, pass on the cheapest item — $7.99 for Marimekko sunscreen. (Who needs Marimekko sunscreen?) And you can skip the most expensive: $499.99 for the paddle board (come on, we live in a desert). Head straight for the mid-range items.
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The collection features women's wear, children's wear, home goods, and outdoor products. In home goods, we'd scoop up serving trays ($19.99 to $29.99), indoor/outdoor pillows ($24.99 apiece), placemats ($19.99 for four), salad plates ($19.99 for four), and table runners ($19.99). We know what you're asking yourself: Are these items a good deal? Well, by comparison, table runners on the Marimekko retail site run from $38 to $45, or about double the Target prices.
In women's wear, go for the tunic ($26.99), bikini tops and bottoms ($19.99 each), and terry-cloth coverups ($26 to $34). Normally, a single, tunic-style shirt on the Marimekko retail site can set you back $165.
As for outdoor goods, go ahead and skip garden tools, hurricane lanterns, and kites. Instead, grab the oversize beach towels ($39.99), and consider whether you might later regret splurging on a bright hammock ($64.99) or deck chairs ($74.99 each).
The collection is called Endless Summer, which should give any Phoenician pause: "Uh, careful what you wish for, guys." But you won't have an eternity to get these items — these partnership collections generally do not get re-stocked. Target keeps supply limited for greater demand and quick sales. Hopefully, after the Lilly Pulitzer fiasco, Target has re-calibrated to better gauge demand, but who knows? If it's a free-for-all, remember, April 17 is a Sunday, so keep it classy. Local stores open at 8 a.m., and the collection will also be available online through Target's website.