We Finns like our Marimekko prints. In Helsinki you can hardly move for shops selling the brand, which for over 50 years has been considered a national treasure.
But here's something strange: when I lived in Helsinki I wouldn't be seen dead in that print. OK, I had a few of their handy canvas bags, everyone at school did. And I do believe that as children we two sisters were often seen wearing stripy Marimekko t-shirts in different bright colours.
But since I've moved away I've learned to love the designs. It seems such a patriotic thing to do, but also they seem much more unique and avant garde outside of the Finnish borders. The prints reflect the dramatic lines of the Finnish landscapes, in the colours of bright summer flowers (the poppy print) or stark winter scenes, Northern Lights or frozen lakes.
If you're in the market for a dog bed, Marimekko can accommodate you (or your pooch) here too. I'm always looking for beds for my dogs as they seem to mistake them for food. I would love this one, if it hadn't been quite so expensive (my dogs make them last for only about three months). It was also huge. I think even Finnair would have objected to this as hand luggage.
But these dog carriers in the shop on the North Esplanade looked so cute I very nearly got one for my little terrier. How classy would we look on Bond Street?
I must thank the very friendly staff in the Esplanade shop in Helsinki who sought me a permission to take these photos. Apparently they have a blanket ban on customers photographing the products. Industrial espionage must be alive and well?