Turning Traditional Austrian Fashion On Its Head
Putting on my first dirndl at 20 was odd. My mother is from Austria, but I was born in NYC and brought up between the two countries. No woman in my mother’s family is interested in women’s fashion, so for me to own a dirndl was an odd concept to my mother and all the women in my family that came before her. While I myself decided to purchase a traditional dirndl, there is more than one route to go in the modern age.
Dirndls are expensive, the minimum for a good quality dirndl is around $70. The more expensive ones usually range from $300-$1,000. The most expensive dirndl ever made was worth $100,000 and had Swarovski crystals sewn into the skirt. Originally, these dresses were for peasants. In the early/mid nineteenth century, the dress was worn by wealthy women for leisure. In the modern age, women now are combining modern with traditional to show their personal style through their dirndls.
Lena Hoschek, a native of Graz, Austria, has perfected the art of combining modern fabrics and styles with traditional dirndl structures. Her pieces are not about following trends though, they’re about setting their own trends. Hoschek is a designer who works towards pieces that are usable, she is not interested in fashion that is just meant for art. Hoschek is a designer that is working for her consumer, while also putting her own taste of fabrics and cuts into the design.
Hoschek first began her line in 2005 at the age of 24, in a small studio at the center of Graz. To date, she now owns two stores, one in Graz and one in Vienna. In addition, she sometimes has a pop up shop, as well as her studio that is now located in Vienna.
The more traditional dirndls from Lena Hoschek follow the traditional colors of the different regions in Austria, such as the green and pink featured below. This is a commonly used color pattern, but Hoschek presents it differently with a ruffled neckline and a polka dotted apron.
As well as another take on the most used dirndl colors:
Most of Hoschek’s contemporary pieces reflect her love for patterns and the mesh of tradition and modern edge. Even her models are posed to bring in a more youthful aspect to the arena of traditional dirndl garb.
Often, we see different blouse patterns and cuts used with the dirndls. There are multiple styles of blouses to go with when purchasing a dirndl, but Hoschek takes the opportunity of creating a blouse that is made in conjunction with the dress. Instead of the mix and match that normally happens, Hoschek designs a blouse that is purposefully meant to go with the dirndl.
Whether or not Hoschek set out to change the traditional Austrian/Bavarian dirndls, she has set a new standard that other designers are working to compete against. Hoschek is often cited by her fans as having a unique style that connects tradition to the style of the younger generation.
Lena Hoschek has shown her work at multiple fashion weeks. Here is a video of Hoschek’s latest fashion line from Berlin Fashion Week 2016:
Written by Ryan Gibson
Ryan Gibson is a New York based writer who hails from a small hippie town filled with bongo drums and peace signs. Her passions include live entertainment, concerts, and being a roadie. In her off time she specializes in reading feminist literature and cursing.