Stay Updated!    

Fashion Houses & The Bauhaus

Fashion Houses & The Bauhaus

If you studied art history at all in college, you most likely studied (and actually remembered!) the Bauhaus.  The Bauhaus was a school of thought founded by Walter Gropius in Weimar, Germany, around 1919, and its general philosophy was to bring art to the people, to break down the barriers between artist and craftsman, and to let art infiltrate our lives in every way.  The goal was to make people aesthetically pleased and therefore altogether happier.  Art would no longer be something to just look at in a museum; it had to be painted on the walls, printed onto clothes and onto coffee mugs, in the form of crazy prints or just compelling colors. 

Unfortunately and perhaps unsurprisingly, this philosophy was found way too radical by many, and thus the school and its institutions only survived so long.  However, the idea has been carried through the twentieth century and until today in a more manageable form by some of the most revered fashion houses.  Italian house Missoni has an explicitly Bauhaus-like desire for its customers to drown their decorative worlds in its prints. Heir to the brand, Luca Missoni explained in a 2013 Interview Magazine article that the brand is directly inspired by art (and contemporary dance).  Their mission statement is to make people feel happy through aesthetic pleasure, which is why they partner with unlikely companies such as Target, Eataly and even San Pellegrino, to let their signature gorgeous Missoni print infiltrate the mainstream and multiple aspects of our lives.

Magical Finnish brand Marimekko has the same idea.  Along with clothes and home goods, they sell fabric in their retail stores, so that customers can do what they want with the prints and ideally decorate their entire lives with it.  In fact they opened a storefront in Cambridge, Massachusetts a few years ago that was not a store—it could not be entered—but actually just a huge display case to please and inspire its viewers.  They even created an art installation with flowing Marimekko fabric draped over wild grassy fields, completely blurring the line between fashion and landscape.  Their mission statement from their website reads, in part, “We want to taste the authentic flavour of life, thus finding joy and intensity for the working day…. Following fashion and pointless ingratiation should be avoided. Usually, you should just boldly follow your own internal beacon.” 

The literal goals of the Bauhaus may have been too lofty to carry out, but their ideas are alive and well.  Gropius and the Bauhaus ideals seem to have touched on an ultimate human instinct and desire, and they have been incorporated elegantly into a largely consumerist world.  After all, who doesn’t want to be a little bit happier?