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  • “Traditional Couture: Folkloric Heritage Costumes” book by Gestalten. Photo by Gregor Hohenberg.

  • “Traditional Couture: Folkloric Heritage Costumes” book by Gestalten. Photo by Gregor Hohenberg.

  • “Traditional Couture: Folkloric Heritage Costumes” book by Gestalten. Photo by Gregor Hohenberg.

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“Traditional Couture: Folkloric Heritage Costumes” book by Gestalten

A new book by Gestalten explores the relationship between the traditional costumes of Germany and contemporary haute couture, paying homage to the intricate craftsmanship and cultural significance hidden behind the inspiring heritage designs. The book is edited by Robert Klanten and Annet Hohenberg, with the invaluable help of German fashion photographer Gregor Hohenberg, known for his editorials for publications like Achtung, Vogue, GQ, Architectural Digest, Stern and Die Zeit. Hohenberg visited more than 22 regions of Germany, capturing with a unique sensibility the rich tradition of their folkloric attire, the proud and dignity of their wearers, the disarming allure of the bucolic landscapes, as well as all the little details of their elaborate tailoring and high quality fabrics, which are often adorned with pearls, seams, precious stones, embroidery and flashy colors.

Traditional costumes are one of the oldest forms of haute couture, despising all kinds of momentary trends, and are meant to last a lifetime. They not only represent premium craftsmanship, but also an awareness of one’s traditions and the feeling of belonging to a community. The secrets of their elaborate construction are handed down from generation to generation, and the few tailors that still master these unique techniques are highly sought-after, even out of their regional borders.

As the editors explain, their intention was to avoid the typical kitschy German folklore clichés in order to delve into “how donning traditional dress can change one’s composure, lend charisma, and make a statement while providing a relaxed sense of self-confidence and feeding a passion for special attire at special occasions”. The book manages to offer a valuable insight into the rich tradition of the German folkloric costumes, which remain lesser known to the general public, while showing why they serve as an inspiration for many contemporary couturiers, highlighting their cutting-edge design and timeless elegance. “Traditional Couture: Folkloric Heritage Costumes” is available at selected bookstores, as well as Gestalten’s online shop.