A Clothing Collection Inspired by the Bauhaus

The daughter of Los Angeles-based artists, fashion designer Rosetta Getty bought her first artwork, a Robert Motherwell painting, with her earnings as a teenage model. Today, her collection includes pieces by Olympia Scarry, Wolfgang Tillmans and Piero Golia. Still, Getty says she’s “slow to acquire a work of art,” and has a habit of visiting a piece multiple times over several months as she considers whether it might have place in her life. “It doesn’t go from the gallery to a storage facility. Not only do I have to love the work, but I have to live in its presence.” Her clothing designs feel like a natural extension of this lifelong pursuit: for nearly every season of her five-year-old line, Getty has collaborated with an artist, “intuitively picking” an individual or movement that she wants to explore, and continuing the Getty family tradition of supporting the art community. One can see how she’s made that legacy her own with the easy drape of a tangerine satin slip dress she conceived of after seeing Anna Ostoya’s vibrant abstract paintings, say, or a ruched blouse that recalls the medical tubing in Hayden Dunham’s installations. “The process of working with an artist is very similar to my process of collecting,” Getty says, “With some, we might have met for a studio visit years before and had the opportunity to get to know each other over time. I think that can make for the best, deepest collaborations.”

For her latest resort collection, Getty stepped away from the contemporary market and looked to the Bauhaus, the famed German art school founded 100 years ago, by visiting Los Angeles’s Getty Research Institute. “Bauhaus Beginnings,” an examination of the school’s early curriculum and output, is on view now at the Getty Center, and while the exhibition includes work by some of the school’s bigger names (Walter Gropius, Wassily Kandinsky), Getty, who is sponsoring the show, was most taken with the that of the lesser known women students. A curtain fabric by Lena Meyer-Bergner with interlocking red, black and white lines was the starting point for a more compressed plaid that Getty used for a double-breasted peak-lapel jacket and matching pin-tuck shorts. She also translated a Gertrud Preiswerk ink-and-gouache work in which a circle and square dance around each other into an irregular polka-dot print — she calls it “the Bauhaus dot” — that appears on a fluted tank dress, a silk charmeuse blouse and a belted pajama pant. “It feels very dynamic and modern,” she notes of the pattern. “I tried to bring enough change to make it something new.”

Channeling artists who are no longer living proved a different kind of process, one often facilitated by curator Maristella Casciato. “Instead of the two-way conversations, everything becomes very one-sided. But I’m trying to think about what the artist would have liked, and trying to honor their legacy,” says the designer. It also piqued Getty’s interest in adding a Bauhaus work to her personal trove. “Over the last few years, I’ve focused on important emerging artists like Ser Serpas, Amalia Ulman and Juliana Huxtable,” she says. “I think, since so many of the pieces by female Bauhaus artists were made while they were students, their work would actually fit right in.”

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