Saturday, March 24, 2012

For the Love of Loden

This Spring updated versions of 'Trachten", the traditional German and Austrian alpine clothing have appeared on the fashion runway, in numerous stores, and in the Style & Fashion section of the Weekend Wall Street Journal (1-28/29-2012) . Fashionistas of yesterday also favored this style - Millicent Rogers, Wallis Simpson and Edward were among its fans.

Trachten clothing includes:

  • Jackets and capes made of loden, (a type of felt) embellished with antler horn, bone or engraved silver buttons.

  • Hats adorned with wild boar bristle pins and hunting medals

  • Lederhosen (leather shorts with suspenders)

  • Dirndl dresses (a layered costume consisting of a blouse, vest, skirt and apron).

If you're still confused -

just think 'The Sound of Music'!

I, too, have a bit of a Loden past. When I was a teenager, our family took a summer vacation to Europe. We found a low cost air fare on a charter flight, but there was a catch. We had to become members of a traveling German singing group, who had booked the plane. The group looked something like this:

One stop on our tour was Salzburg, where we found a tiny little shop that sold traditional folk clothing and costumes. I entered as a naive teenager from Upstate New York, and came out as Maria von Trapp in my drindl and grey loden jacket. My younger brother picked out a fetching pair of lederhosen shorts.

In college, I returned to Europe as an art history student. Living in Florence Italy I became enchanted by the heavy green loden coats worn by the Florentines. Searching out a resale shop, I purchased a used loden coat. It kept me snug and fashionable during that long ago Italian Spring.

Many years and many lodens later (including a coat and several jackets like the one below)...

Guess what I found last week at the local Goodwill resale shop?
You guessed it - a Loden Coat!

Still tracking trachten,

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