Color Blocking: From 20th Century Architects to Louis Vuitton

Louis Vuitton Collection (

Color blocking is all the rage in fashion these days. The first time I saw the fashion trend of color blocking, I immediately thought Modern Masters. Fashion designers have taken a direct cue from the turn of the 20th century architects and artists who first introduced this concept.

There were three schools of modern thought; De Stijl, Bauhaus and International Style. In the simplest of synopsis these three schools shared the basic tenants of a reduction to the essentials of form and color and the expression of volume rather than mass, balance rather than preconceived symmetry and the expulsion of applied ornament.

Louis Vuitton’s collection from Spring and Summer 2011 echoes these tenants and resembles the architecture, art and furniture of the modern movement. The color blocking that I see in current fashion remind me immediately of Piet Mondrian’s art, Gerrit Rietveld’s Schröder House and Red and Blue Chair as well as Paul Klee’s Senecio.

Modern Masters: works Mondrian, Rietveld, and Klee.

Color blocking has been around in interiors for some time. What I love most about this for interiors is it allows you to introduce bold colors to your space without having to commit to a whole room of that color. You can do this by painting a wall or architectural feature, such as an alcove, or through colored draperies, furniture rugs and pillows.

Designer Holly Dyment has a portfolio full of color blocking examples. Here are two examples to give you a taste. In the first example she used an architectural detail (the fireplace bump-out) as her canvas for a color block. In the second example she used the many horizontal lines of a stairwell as an example of layered color blocks. Stylist Karsten Lulloff uses furniture as an opportunity to color block.

Color blocking in room decor. First and second visions by designer Holly Dyment (, the third is by stylist Karsten Lulloff (

In some respects color blocking is simple. Use a color wheel to pick two complimentary colors and overlay them. Where color blocking becomes difficult is your willingness to be bold. Color can be a scary thing but just remember you can ease into slowly. Pick a wall, a piece of furniture, an architectural detail or an accessory to get your feet wet. Better yet, Color Block your floors!

Skyways Color Black from Bed Bath and Beyond

Sadler in Color Cadet from Lowes


*Photos courtesy of

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