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Hand block printing from Aussee

Ausseerland lies in the heart of the Salzkammergut. With its scenic lakes, meadows and mountain massifs it is the embodiment of a harmonious landscape. And this picturesque beauty is reflected in the colours of Aussee’s traditional costume.

Hand block printing Aussee © Mautner Drucke

A scandal brought Ausseerland its fame: In 1829 the son of the Emperor fell in love with the postmaster’s daughter and married her against all opposition. Like his wife and as an act of unity he chose to wear the traditional costume called “Gewand”.

Traditional costume is first and foremost mundane.

The traditional costume is a symbol of regional identity, and for centuries the Aussee regional costume has been eminently suitable for life in the mountains, both as working and workaday clothes. The regional dress is still part of the daily wardrobe, which is unique even in Austrian standards, where regional attire is mostly only worn at special occasions, such as weddings, “Gamsjaga” Days or regional costume balls like Vienna's upmarket Jägerball.

Aussee’s regional dresses allow its wearers to express their individuality. The men wear short Lederhosen in summer and a longer version in winter, a jacket with a comfortable wide pleat in the back and over it a roomy weatherproof cape, both made of Loden, a water-repellent, heavy duty woollen cloth. Hand-knitted socks, sturdy boots, a hat and necktie complete a traditional Aussee gentleman’s costume. The ladies wear a Dirndl which comprises a pleated skirt, a short sleeved white blouse, over which is a bodice fitted to the waist and sewn onto the skirt. The Dirndl blurs the boundaries between underwear and outerwear and the wide skirt and the tight bodice enhance the curves of a woman’s figure. It’s no wonder that this combination of emancipation and feminine grace caught the fancy of ladies of society – the Dirndl makes every woman look beautiful.

Regional costume - a celebration of colour
Apart from its flattering design, it is the colours that make wearing Tracht so appealing: flowers against a bright background for the skirt and a contrasting colour for the bodice, then the apron, which with at least one other color or pattern creates a charming whole. This is all kept in check by a feminine white blouse, but the exuberance is reinforced by a colourful shawl. Also the men join the general celebration of colour with a Bindl (traditional cravat), brightly decorated Hosenkraxen (braces) and a splendid silk waistcoat.

The special splendour of the tissue results from the traditional Aussee hand block printing.  In order to add the colour to the fabric - wool, linen and silk - Martina Reischauer taps with much feeling and a weighty hammer on the old wooden pattern blocks; they are all unique and a creative asset of the workshop. “No, this work is certainly not ladylike”, she laughs.

A thriving tradition of block hand printing
It was a woman who brought block hand printing to Aussee in 1930; to protect the quality of regional costumes from the tasteless merchandise of mass production Anna Mautner built up a collection of old wooden pattern blocks. With her artistic flair and thanks to new synthetic dyes, she soon progressed from indigo print to colour print. Her cloths and fabrics which complement national costume so perfectly soon found acclaim, not only in Aussee but also amongst her exclusive social circle in the Viennese society.

Martina Reischauer eventually took over the business from Anna Mautner. Each client can now create a “Dirndl” that is completely unique, choosing the pattern and colour of the fabric themselves before it is hand printed for them. But it is usually Martina Reischauer herself who comes up with the “mad ideas” that delight her customers.  This creative urge has led to her own collection. Leather and Loden cloth can both be printed and tailored into elegant jackets and skirts. Matching gloves and pashminas with Aussee patterns complete the look.  Clients especially appreciate the fine silks, which are made into delicate aprons, shawls and waistcoats. Mautner silk is characterised by the brilliance of its colours and a typically soft feel.

Three more workshops have signed up to the art of hand block printing in Bad Aussee, in the truest sense of the word, because each of them, whether Wach, Sekyra, Eder or Mautner, has their own signature: Sepp Wach is the most committed to tradition, Markus Wach at Handdruck Sekyra brings contemporary design and pastel tones to the Alpine theme, Christiane Eder amazes with her interplay of non-conformity and tradition. But still the fabrics from Mautner printing works under Martina Reischauer continue to draw attention with their classic elegance and brilliant colours.

 

USEFUL LINKS:

Aussee‘s hand block printers
Immerse yourself in the fascinating world of Aussee’s hand block printing artists. Commission a unique piece from award-winning artists,that you will certainly never want to give away.

Mautner Drucke est. 1930
Workshop and shop
www.mautnerdrucke.at

Sepp Wach silk hand printing
www.handdrucke-seppwach.at

Handdruck Sekyra
www.handdrucke.at

Christiane Eder
Bahnhofstraße 241
8990 Bad Aussee

Trachtenpärchenball
Aficionados of national costume are invited to “the wackiest ball since Lederhosen were invented” in Vienna‘s Rathaus. Leave your DJ and sequinned ball gown at home, because the compulsory dress code for this evening is Tracht! For those who don’t turn up in full traditional costume, their night finishes at the door.
Dates: September 2012
www.trachtenpaerchenball.at

Lena Hoschek
Internationally acclaimed Austrian designer Lena Hoschek, has the fashion cognoscenti raving about her eccentric collections. As well as fabulous clothes and accessories for him and her, she has designed her own Tracht (national costume) collections.
www.lenahoschek.at

Tostmann Trachten
Husband and wife team Marlen and Jochen Tostmann founded this company more than sixty years ago in Seewalchen by Lake Attersee.  All Tostmann Dirndls are still made exclusively in Austria today in the company’s own workshops.
www.tostmann.at

Mothwurf Austrian Couture
You can’t deny that Mothwurf has its roots firmly in Tracht, or traditional costume. But these origins do not manifest themselves as a repeated quotation but as a starting point for unmistakable, always new excursions into the contemporary fashion and cultures from the furthest corners of the world.
www.mothwurf.com