Vienna's S/S 2015 fashion week had only taken place somewhere in the early Spring, so when I visited recently this month, clothing racks were still abundant with crisp and hot off the press pieces. I know this from popping in and out of local clothing boutiques in Vienna, spending an entire day exploring from Karlsplatz to Zieglergasse. As a result of all that touring, I've derived three conclusive facts about fashion in Vienna accompanied by some highlights of Harper's Bazaar DE, June/July 2015 issue.
1) Viennese people take fashion very seriously.
I recall one boutique where I was trying on a mint tweed moto only half an inch bigger than my standard fit. Now in my defence, it was on a 70% sale and down to 39 euros, I think I know a steal when I wear one. The boutique owner warned me not to purchase the oversized jacket, pointing out the slightly off shoulders. At that time I thought I could pull it off with some tapered pants, oversized clothing is always workable if you're a regular thrifter. However, the expression that laid on her face was as if I've committed a shameful sin if I were ever to be seen walking around in public in an "ill-fitted" jacket ....of her own design? I realised the oversized, improper fit was not for the Viennese fashion crowd. Perfectly tailored and on-point needle worked garments dominated here, people take fashion very seriously.
2) As serious as they get, they still dress with a level of comfort.
I'm a person of heels, only because where I come from, choosing to walk miles on a road as a genuine mode of transportation is a humorous joke. Vienna is a walking city and if you wear high heels on the steps of Stephansplatz - you will stick out like a sour thumb. Condé Nast Traveller released an article last summer entitled "How Not To Look Like a Tourist in Berlin". It sternly demonstrated how practicality and not beauty drove their fashion sense in Berlin, now this is obviously not Germany but the same relaxed culture flows in their fashion roots. They've established a fine and balanced line between being stylish as well as comfortable in their street styles. Flinging designer logos in public were also not of the norm but that didn't mean people weren't draped in designer goods.
3) Trust me, they know their stuff.
I wanted a tangible view of the fashion culture and so I did what I usually do, I set off to buy local fashion magazines. I've always seen them as the greatest souvenir one can collect, you get an idea of the luxury culture and it records the date within the souvenir itself. The Viennese Girl can only show me so much. I arrived at Thalia one afternoon and in the midst of my search at the fashion section- I was so taken back by the volume of available fashion publications. How would I ever be able to differentiate which of these fashion magazines were local, national or just plain German? Spun with confusion, I approached a woman who appeared to look like she was in her mid-30's, sunglasses perched upon her nicely tucked hair behind her ears. And so, I initiated the conversation:
"Excuse me, i'm looking for a local fashion magazine, do you know what would be a good read?"
There was a brief pause, a positive one because what was to come next was an influx of 101 well executed fashion knowledge.
She swayed from one section to another, knit-picking magazines and telling me what to avoid and what not to. I realised, I had hit the jackpot. "German fashion can also be Austrian fashion but Viennese fashion cannot be German fashion but sometimes it can also be German fashion, oh and Flair is good." By the end of her parade, I was hugging a mountain of fashion magazines. I thanked her as we exchanged our farewells and I filtered through the pile she had composed. Being short on cash, I had to put down Flair. I rushed home that day to my elder sister who I had left waiting for 30 minutes outside the hotel suite, I told her I had found my goods- she was apparently not amused by my tardiness. I was beaming too much at this rate because I got my fashion magazines. They did not disappoint! She did not disappoint. She knew her stuff and she was Viennese. So Viennese know their stuff. Or I was just lucky but whatever, this story had to be told.
Whether you're travelling across central/western Europe or just mildly interested in dressing like a fashionable Austrian, I sincerely hope these photos I took of the magazine can serve you well.