Bauhaus Costume Culture: Beauty in Practicality and Functionality


Bauhaus Costume Culture: Beauty in Practicality and Functionality

Costumes designed by Oskar Schlemmer. Courtesy of The Charnel-House.

We’re excited to invite the design community for the inaugural Designer’s Ball of 2018! Themed the Bauhaus Bash, the Ball celebrates the upcoming centennial of the Bauhaus movement whose design innovation, philosophy, and love of parties continue to inspire us today.

Channeling our former Bauhaus designers, we invite all to create your own costumes and props to honor the Bauhaus era! Not sure where to start? We’re holding Costume Design Workshops throughout RI to help you get your creative juices flowing. Read more on the significance of the costumes in the Bauhaus era and sign up for the Costume Design Workshops.

Not only was the Bauhaus school an outlet for students to express their creativity under the supervision and teachings of iconic artists; it was an entire culture where students could be free, original, and well beyond innovative. Outside of the classrooms were several social gatherings, each one having its own theme or significance. The difference between your average costume party and a Bauhaus costume party is anything but average.

Former Bauhaus student Farkas Molnár describes the lavish costumes in his 1925 essay, Life at the Bauhaus, as:

“Inhuman, or humanoid, but always new. You may see monstrously tall shapes stumbling about, colorful mechanical figures that yield not the slightest clue as to where the head is. Sweet girls inside a red cube. Here comes a witch and they are hoisted high up into the air; lights flash and scents are sprayed.”

Each costume was prepared by the invitee or student and were assembled in relation to human silhouette, lines, shapes, and several visual design principles. Oskar Schlemmer; best known as the mastermind behind ‘Triadic Ballet’, (a several hour lasting performance based on the balance between abstract concepts and emotional impulses) incorporated some of the most recognisable traits from the Bauhaus era into the most exemplary forms of Bauhaus costumes.

What makes these costumes so special? These geometric inspired wearable works of art were a visual representation of what Bauhaus stood for, and still stands for to this very day. They are the reminder of its importance to the world of design, and when paired with dance in their performances, we can grasp the message it exemplifies. Every person with creative powers was once asked to fulfil the practice of everyday life in the initiation of the Bauhaus era.

From cubes, to cylinders, to cones, lines, and everywhere in between - Bauhaus costumes were the one of the main epitome of the Bauhaus mission:

“It is not about style, but it is about function. Common denominators are provided by the object’s functionality and beauty demanded by its practicality.”

Check out the dates and locations for the Bauhaus Costume Workshops below! Attend our workshops to create your very own Bauhaus costume:

- February 17th, 10am-1pm at the WaterFire Arts Center

- March 10th, 10am-1pm at the Jamestown Arts Center

- March 31st, 10am-1pm at the WaterFire Arts Center