Iconic Fabric Styles

Missoni: Missoni is an Italian fashion house based in Varese, Italy that was founded by Ottavio and Rosita Missoni in 1953. They are famous for their use of a multitude of patterns such as stripes, geometrics, and abstract florals, in a rainbow of colors and the liberal use of many different fabrics such as wool, cotton, linen, rayon and silk.

Marimekko: Marimekko was founded in 1951 by Viljo and Armi Ratia. Unikko is perhaps the most famous and recognizable pattern from Marimekko, featuring a bold, colorful poppy design. The iconic print was designed in 1964 by pioneering Marimekko designer Maija Isola.

Marimekko was first introduced to the United States when architect Benjamin C. Thompson featured them in his Design Research stores. They were made famous when Jacqueline Kennedy wore Marimekko dresses frequently during the 1960 US Presidential campaign.

Retailer Crate and Barrel began a relationship with Marimekko in 1960. To this day, they utilize Marimekko designs on textiles sold in their stores as well as for display backdrops to add color and seasonality.

The iconic Unikko pattern is still very visible in popular design today and has been translated into many versions of different color and scale.

Ikat: Ikat is a dyeing technique used to pattern textiles with a resist dyeing process similar to tie-dye. The threads are bound in the desired patterns and then the threads are dyed. The bindings can be altered and put through multiple dying processes to produce elaborate, multicolored patterns. When the dyeing process is finished, the bindings are removed and the threads are ready for weaving. The difference between Ikat and tie-dye is that the binding and dying occurs prior to weaving, rather than after weaving as it is in the tie-dye process.

Suzani: Suzani is an embroidered and decorative tribal textile made in Central Asia. The name Suzani is derived from the Persian word for needle,Suzan. The oldest known Suzanis are from the late 1700’s but it is likely that they were in use much earlier than that. Writings from the early 15th century describe the use of embroideries that were probably earlier versions of such textiles. Traditionally, the embroidery work began at the birth of a daughter and continued, with the help of family and friends, until the bride’s dowry was complete. These elaborate textiles were then presented to the groom on the wedding day.

Suzanis usually have a cotton fabric base which is embroidered in silk or cotton thread using primarily chain, satin, and buttonhole stitches. A technique called couching, in which decorative thread laid on the fabric as a raised line is stitched in place with a second thread, is often used as well. Often, Suzanis are made with two or more pieces of fabric that are stitched together to form a larger piece. Popular designs include sun, moon disks, and flower motifs. This includes tulips, carnations, irises, leaves and vines, fruits (especially pomegranates), and occasionally fish and birds.