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Saturday, October 31, 2015

Avant-Garde Costumes from the 1920s

In 1920s Hamburg, Germany, a couple of young dancers named Lavinia Schulz and Walter Holdt created a series of Expressionistic costumes that resemble retro robots, Bauhaus knights, and other fantastical creatures. Photographs of the dancers in costume taken by Minya Diez-Dührkoop in 1924 became part of the public domain this month.

Twenty full-body costumes were created for performances between 1919 and 1924, all accompanied by avant-garde music, usually composed by Hans Heinz Stuckenschmidt.

The costumes themselves are held by the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe's Sammlung Moderne galleries, which plans to have the entire collection searchable online with high-resolution images. The costumes were acquired in 1924 and were left to gather dust, possibly because of the fact that the couple had recently died a sad and shocking death. Both in their 20s and in financial ruin, Schulz shot Holdt and then turned the gun on herself. Both died from their wounds.

The costumes, made of a creative mix of fabric, silver gelatin paper, cardboard, papier-mâché, plaster, leather, and other found objects, were discovered in their boxes in the 1980s. In 2012 MKG hosted a performance that reanimated the costumes, which you can see in the video below.


Photo by Minya Diez-Dührkoop


  1. Creative for sure! Happy Halloween!

  2. Awesome! I chose #3 or #5...can you imagine wearing #3? Worse than Edward Scissorhands! Have fun with the littles tonite, Dana.
    xo, T.

    1. We took the boys to an awesome Halloween party at the home of friends...about 30 adults and 20 children, and they went out trick-or-treating as a group. It was fantastic! Hope your Halloween was great too.


  3. The Bauhaus dance group had geometric costumes, sphere, cone shaped, etc outfits.