The Unikko pattern is one of the most widely recognized in the world, but it would not have been born without one designer's defiance. Marimekko founder Armi Ratia decreed that there be no floral designs, insisting that real flowers have a natural beauty that motifs cannot capture or attempt to recreate. In protest at being told what to draw, designer Maija Isola created a whole range of floral patterns, one of which was Unikko. The flowers were so distinctive Ratia could not turn the instant classic down. In 1964 Unikko was born, and it remains a timeless and modern mainstay in the Marimekko collection today.
The red and white flowers are the most popular of the Marimekko Unikko colorways, but plenty of new ones pop up every year. In fact, Maija Isola's daughter Kristiina and granddaughter Emma have both worked with Marimekko on modern updates to the classic Unikko print. The famous flowers have ended up on more than just Marimekko fabric, pillows, bedding and bags; cars, busses, hot airballoons and planes (Finnair ones, of course) have been plastered with the instantly recognizable graphic.