Sunday, February 26, 2017

Luxarazzi 101: Liechtenstein's National Dress

Princess Elsa in a variation of
Liechtenstein's Tracht
If you would ask around, a common answer to the question what the national dress of Germany and Austria - and by extent Switzerland, Liechtenstein and South Tyrol - looks like, would probably be "Dirndl" or a description of it. However, the Dirndl is a relatively new invention dating back to the 19th century and back then still didn't look too much like the ones you know from Oktoberfest today. The Dirndl became popular with the masses after World War I as they were much cheaper than the elaborate Trachten, the traditional regional dress. There are hundreds and thousands of different regional dresses in the German-speaking countries, including a Liechtenstein national dress.

During 1980's, excavations underneath the parish church of Mauren brought to light a gravesite of women dating from around the year 1700. The women were laid to rest wearing Trachten showing just how hold the national dress is. While remains of the national dress were also found in Vaduz, Gamprin and Eschen, the found in Mauren was something special as it included well preserved garments and a bonnet. This allowed to draw conclusions on the material, colour, shape and look of the national dress for women around 300 hundred years ago.

Prince Hans-Adam II and Princess Marie celebrating
the 50th anniversary of the Liechtensteinische Trachtenvereinigung
(Photo: Liechtensteinische Trachtenvereinigung)
While some concessions have been made, even all of Liechtenstein's Trachten still take the historical examples as pretty strict examples. The skirt is black and the blouse white with crocheted and bobbin laced necklines and sleeves. The bodices and aprons made of silk where traditionally red or brownish-red though are now also available in blue and green. All bodices are adorned with silver embroidery including a prominently placed princely crown in the middle of the bodice. The Tracht includes a black wheel-shaped bonnet for women featuring silver embroidery on its back. White lace gloves, white stockings and black shoes with a silver buckle complete the Liechtenstein national dress. (The festive holiday clothing that is. The look of the daily version can differ.)

Princess Tatjana wearing a Tracht when she was young
While Trachten for young and teenage girls look slightly different, they are manufactured in the same colouring scheme. The different versions date back to at least the 1930's and include, in addition to the wheel-shaped bonnet, floral headbands (called Schappile) and, in others municipalities, crown-shaped headpieces (called Krönle).

In difference to its female counterparts, there are no historical information available giving a glimpse how the Trachten for men and boys used to look like. Today's national dress for men is thus based on Trachten created in 1962 for the national dress association of Schellenberg. Three years later, the Liechtensteinische Trachtenvereinigung (Association of the National Dress of Liechtenstein) was founded. Here at Luxarazzi you can usually spot them around the time of the Principality's national day. Unfortunately though, there is rather little visual evidence of the Princely Family wearing Liechtenstein's national dress over the years.

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