One Singaporean designer is going the Finnish way
Left: Sabrina Goh. Photo: Sabrina Goh/Instagram. Right: Marimekko X Uniqlo. Photo: Uniqlo
Marimekko is not only known for their oversized abstract flowers (particularly the house bloom, the Unikko poppy), they are loved for their oversized, irregular-edge polka dots, arranged in a neat grit—a sort of chessboard with circles. In their collaboration with Uniqlo, one of the most popular dresses, we were learned, is an A-line, cotton/linen blend dress (top right), based on one of the house’s popular prints Kivet, first conceived by the Finnish textile designer Maija Isola in 1959 for Marimekko. So popular is Kivet the repeated circles that the print now appears on other garments such as ponchos, accessories such as umbrella, as well as home furnishings such as blankets and cushions.
Concurrent to the availability of this Marimekko X Uniqlo dress is one possible sibling—a 100% cotton version (top left) by Sabrina Goh’s label Elohim. The kinship is further augmented by the black and white colour scheme, and overall shape of the dress—loose-fitted, with light gathers in the centre, just below the bust. Ms Goh’s version has shorter sleeves (almost capped) and sports a slit on the right side. Although it is, similarly, V-necked, it is additionally mandarin-collared. It is shorter, too, skimming just below the new, while the Marimekko X Uniqlo dress is of maxi length. The print also looks similar, but each piece of the pattern is, in fact, a three-sided polygon that suggests pebbles. This also recalls the inspiration behind Ms Isola’s design, which, according to Marimekko, “likely originate(s) from the large, rough-edged stones cleared from the site of the artist’s studio home”.
The Elohim dress is called ‘Genesis’ (Ms Goh has a weakness for biblical references. Elohim is frequently used in the Hebrew bible to refer to god), and the naming seems to hint at creation, origin, and beginning. Or, corresponding to creativity, original, and first? Whichever description you’re inclined to accord the dress, it is unlikely that both came hand-in-hand from the garden of (design) Eden.
Elohimby Sabrina Goh ‘Genesis’ polka-dot dress, SGD249.90, is available online at Sabrina Goh e-shop. Marimekko X Uniqlo linen-blend V-neck dress, SGD59.90, is available online at Uniqlo’s website