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Passings : Riitta Immonen

Finnish fabric, fashion designer

September 06, 2008|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Riitta Immonen, 90, a co-founder of Marimekko, the Finnish fabric and fashion design company, died Aug. 24 in a Helsinki hospital, according to news reports. The cause of death was not released.

She was born in Ilomantsi, Finland, and studied dressmaking at a trade school in Helsinki before she went into the fashion business.

Immonen was designing women's clothes for her own boutique when she and a friend, textile designer Armi Ratia, started Marimekko in 1951 to create hand-printed cotton fabrics. Immonen suggested using the colorful, boldly patterned yardage for dresses.

She created shapes that were strong, graphic and modern with artful details such as buttons on one shoulder or a fabric insert on each side.

Marimekko went global, opening shops in Cambridge, Mass., and elsewhere in the U.S. Immonen left the company after several years and continued designing her own line of clothes and uniforms under the Cinderella label.

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