Crayola-bright blues, gumball-machine reds, and Very Hungry Caterpillar greens fill the pages of MoMA’s fall catalogue, which includes this primary-color casserole pot. Popular neo-prep brand Rowing Blazers just came out with a rainbow-stripe rugby shirt in collaboration with Lands’ End, and when Nordstrom opened its New York City flagship in October, it featured a Nike boutique outfitted with bright-red carpets, aqua-blue chairs, and rainbow sneakers that look like a Microsoft WordArt gradient come to life. A confluence of recent trends are behind this toddler-esque design moment. “It would be easy to say this all thanks to Bauhaus, which celebrated its centennial this year,” says Annie Auchincloss, a home buyer at MoMA Design Store. “But I think it reflects something that came earlier: the early-20th-century Dutch De Stijl movement, which consisted of artists like Mondrian, Rietveld, and Theo van Doesburg and focused entirely on simplicity and primary colors.” Jill Singer, the co-founder of Sight Unseen, attributes it to the collision of three separate trends: Memphis Milano (which has reached something of a saturation point in recent months), maximalism (“it’s in”), and a renewed interest in primary-color-focused artists, like Calder and Hockney. “All of that,” she says, “combined with the fact that the news is depressing. So why not a rainbow?”
Meant to recall the brightly colored Lands’ End catalogues of the late ’80s and early ’90s. “Tom Wolfe used this expression to describe brightly colored trousers: ‘go-to-hell pants.’ Those bright colors are such a key part of American quote-unquote preppy style, and as prep comes back into the mainstream, it’s not surprising to see them become a trend,” says Jack Carlson, Rowing Blazers’ founder.
The aforementioned pot.
This lamp, made by Paul Smith and Sir Kenneth Grange, was inspired by the De Stijl movement.
Like a ’90s nylon ski jacket in sling-bag form.
Made in collaboration with Swedish artist Jacob Dahlgren, who has worn a striped shirt every day since 2001.
These sneakers have a dash of Hey Arnold! and a dash of the ball pit at Chuck E. Cheese.
A Mondrian-inspired timepiece, by minimalist Swedish watchmaker TID and London design agency Builders Club.
Almost all of Entireworld’s offerings have a sort of Muji–meets–Sesame Street vibe.
Pumps in the style of a vintage Peugeot bike.
*This article appears in the November 11, 2019, issue of New York Magazine. Subscribe Now!
The Strategist is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Some of our latest conquests include the best acne treatments, rolling luggage, pillows for side sleepers, natural anxiety remedies, and bath towels. We update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.