I was hoping to pick up a piece of traditional Austrian Tracht for my wife on our vacation (I've made no secret of my deep appreciation for girls in dirndls). Luckily our first (and last) stop while dirndl hunting was Austrian designer Lena Hoschek's shop in Spittelberg. Ms. Hoschek (who worked in the London studio of Vivienne Westwood) shows both a nostalgic reverence for both traditional Austrian craft and embroidery and 1940s/1950s Hollywood; her current collection (Spring/Summer 2011) is very pinup girl/burlesque and next fall's collection gets back to more of the punk rock Landhausmode or (what I'll call) the sexy Alpen librarian look of past collections. I mean, Guten Morgen, fräulein Bibliothekarin:

Right inside the store we found a rack of some of the most incredibly beautiful handmade dirndls I'd ever seen. In addition to producing seasonal lines of skirts, jackets, pants, and shirts, Ms. Hoschek creates some really lovely dirndls.

Ultimately, though, a beautiful handcrafted, designer dirndl felt a little impractical once we did a cost-benefit analysis of how often she's wear it versus the cost. So the kids and I went over to the playground across the street while my wife tried on just about everything in the store. We both found last season's collection more appealing in styling, palette and price (it was 30% off). Here were some of the highlights from that collection she found in the store:

I ended up buying her a big twirly high-waist skirt and a shirt not too different from this one (without the boob hearts):

We figured that unlike a full dirndl, it was something she could wear more often. I'll try to convince her to let me take a picture of it outside once things warm up. She also tried on the sailor pants in the next photo, but thought they were a little too baggy at the bottom for her taste. But how badass does this girl look in them?

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