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Emily
30th August 2007, 16:39
Here is an encouraging example of how the "New Femininity" is bringing back a timeless style of feminine dress: the Dirndl, which is the traditional rustic ensemble worn by women in central Europe. (The word Tracht refers to folk attire in general, while Dirndl is a specific example.)

The following article discusses the trend:

http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/show/98863.html

And here are some excerpts. Note how the article emphasizes than this is a curve-friendly design:

Dirndl all the way - Austrian fashionistas embrace tradition

Posted on : 2007-08-28 | Author : DPA

Vienna - The Austrian Dirndl, the traditional costume for women, is everywhere - from fashion magazines and the windows of upmarket city boutiques to the pages of mail-order catalogues. While a few years ago wearing the bodice-dress, blouse and apron combination was the domain of rustics and a few social conservatives, with sassy urbanites not wanting to be seen dead in it, the Dirndl is present all over the society pages these days, enhancing the curves of Austria's leading fashionistas.

A quick tour through several of Vienna's upmarket folksy boutiques showed brisk trade, with ladies of all ages busily buying or renting the elaborate "Tracht" or folk costume.

"The Dirndl is experiencing a boom," said Willi Lanz of the Salzburg-based high-end Dirndl maker of the same name. "Our business is very satisfactory."...

One reason for its renewed popularity is the Dirndl's rediscovery as a truly feminine dress.

"There is no woman that does not become more beautiful when wearing a Dirndl," Lanz said. One of Austria's most established makers of traditional wear, he explained that the dress's tight bodice, deep cleavage and wide skirt favoured the female curves...

Speaking of a fashionable Dirndl, however, would be misleading. Colours or blouse styles may change, fabrics become more elaborate, but apart from small details the dresses would not have looked out of place 100 years ago.

"We go with fashions in lengths or blouse styles, inspired by international designers," Lanz said, but apart from that, tradition rules.

This summer pastel colours, pink and baby blue dominate the collections, the producers agreed. Combined with hand-printed aprons, ponchos or crystal fashion jewellery the summer dirndls make a splash at summer parties or the prestigious Salzburg festival or are worn at weddings, another growing trend.

Whole wedding parties go all "trachty," boosting sales. "Wearing a Dirndl is for special occasions," Lanz said. Only in very few parts of Austria the Dirndl is still part of the daily garb.

Prices reflect the Dirndl's transformation from poor, rural servants' clothing to elaborate garb worn at festive occasions....

Day-wear Dirndl are made from cotton or linen, festive ones from silk and wool fabrics...

One advantage of the Trachten-look is its relative timelessness, Lanz said. While enthusiasts can keep apart the individual collections, the general style remains unchanged for decades, making the Dirndl a fashion item for some and a long-term investment for those not able to afford to update their Dirndl twice a year.

While the current boom shows little signs of abating, high-end producers like Tostmann fear that cheap knock-off Dirndl might scare off some of the more exclusive customers.

"The kitsch trends are not good for the industry. We stuck to our style and that works well for us," Lanz said, cementing their determination to stay traditional - and only traditional.
As expected, it's difficult bordering on impossible to find images of plus-size models exhibiting these styles -- which is insane, since they are tailor-made for the well-fed figure of Germanic women.

http://www.wiesntrachten.de/pics_tracht/tracht_dirndl10.jpg

I found a few images which at least give some idea of how pretty the Dirndl can be (in appropriately gorgeous landscapes, too):

http://www.wiesntrachten.de/pics_tracht/tracht_trends-dirndl_oktoberfest-12.jpg http://www.wiesntrachten.de/pics_tracht/tracht_trends-dirndl_oktoberfest-13.jpg http://www.wiesntrachten.de/pics_tracht/tracht_trends-dirndl_oktoberfest-14.jpg

In every case, the garments would look infinitely better on plus-size models.

Here's a summer style:

http://www.wenger.at/images/sommer360x367/Sommer07.jpg

And a winter design:

http://www.wenger.at/images/Winter360x367/CF020629.jpg

The detailed embroidery on the sleeves of the peasant blouses particularly enhances the beauty of the outfits:

http://www.wenger.at/images/Winter360x367/CF020704.jpg

And although the article is very strict about the traditional composition of the ensemble, I think some of the more contemporary variations are intriguing -- as long as they remain feminine, and retain their Old World look:

http://www.trachten-angermaier.de/kollektionen/damen/damen_0001/2007_f_0016.jpg

But coming back to the article's point about the emerging haute-fashion popularity of Tracht, no less a celebrity than Paris Hilton was seen in a Dirndl at last year's Oktoberfest in Munich. I thought her golden dress was exquisite, richly detailed and very feminine:

http://www.n24.de/php-bin/apps/gallery/image_store/gallery185/03_21xq5849.jpg

And kudos to Paris for adopting a braided hairstyle to go with the outfit. The more traditional Dirndl worn by her friend, on the right, was also lovely.

http://www.jaunted.com/files/admin/parishiltonoktoberfest.png

But again, there's no way around it -- these dresses simply look out of place on any women who lack the opulent, full, womanly curves for which they were made, over the centuries.

It would be a delight to see some of the favourite plus-size models showing off these feminine styles.

klara
31st August 2007, 10:12
I absolutely adore that kind of fashion! I have for years. And I have always thought they really fit plus-size girls. My favorite garment on full-figured girls are dirndl and long prom dresses. I hope Torrid will take up on this trend so I can order from them.

I especially like the green dirndl with the pink flowers. And I hope I will soon go to Vienna because then I will certainly check up on dirndls.