This Tumblr blog is a collaboration between the Europeana Foundation and the Europeana Fashion project. Each month, this Tumblr will showcase a different theme curated by experts from the fashion and cultural heritage community.

This July, Wien Museum displays fashion from the the Ringstrasse era (1857-1914) in Vienna. This period saw the rise of the upper-middle classes and fostered a culture of ’seeing and being seen’. Naturally, fashion responded accordingly.
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Corset, around 1880/1885

Waist: 49cm

Foto: Christa Losta

© Wien Museum

According to a manual for dresscode, a corset was no longer a question of fashion, but something essential. Forgetting to put one on came close to forgetting to wash oneself.

Stockings, around 1890/1900

Foto: Christa Losta

© Wien Museum

Silk stockings, just like silk underwear, were luxury goods. While harmonizing in colour with the dress towards the beginning, they later became fashionable in contrast.

Ankle boots, owned by Helene Vetsera, 1875/1880

Foto: Christa Losta

© Wien Museum

These spectalcular boots, somewhat too daring for conservative Viennese taste, enhanced the appearance of Mary Vetsera’s elegant mother. Helene Vetsera (1847-1925) grew up in a wealthy family in Constantinople, where she met her husband, Albin Vetsera, an Austrian diplomat. The young couple moved to a palais in the Salisianergasse 11 and were seen in the best circles.

The young Baroness Mary met Crown Prince Rudolf, with whom she had a relationship for some time. After the tragedy in Mayerling, when the Crown Prince committed suicide after killing his then girlfriend Mary, Helene fell out of favour in aristocratic society. She outlived all her children, lost all her wealth during WWI and died in poverty in 1925.

Clamps to shape one’s fingertips, in a box, around 1900

Foto: Christa Losta

© Wien Museum

These little instruments of torture were a “must” if one wished to have shapely fingertips. One clamped one on each finger, cut one’s circulation off and got cold fingers. Ten minutes later one could admire the result.

"Girardi",  around 1890

Foto: Christa Losta

© Wien Museum

This straw boater is named after the famous Viennese Operettenstar Alexander Girardi (1850 – 1918). He wore a hat like this in his role in the Strauß Operette “Fürstin Ninetta”. The stiff boater with its dark ribbed band became so famous  that it was renamed a “Girardi” hat from then on. The Girardi became the summer hat for gentlemen in the 1880s

Automobile hat for ladies, around 1905

Foto: Christa Losta

© Wien Museum

This hat was featured in a full page advertisement of Goldman & Salatsch in the “Allgemeinen Automobilzeitung“ on the 30th of July 1905. The advertisment shows headgear for women and men, from the specialized department for automobile equipment. In 1907, 16 Viennese women registered for a car of their own.

Hat with feathers, around 1885/1887

Made by Mson Ch.&Th.P. Haala Vienne, Wien1., Fürichgasse 6

Foto: Christa Losta

© Wien Museum

This hat, with its white cock feathers and elaborate ribbon trimmings, could have been a reason for the prohibition of hats in the Burgtheater: it is an unbelievable 22 cm in height ! Local bird feathers were obviously far cheaper than the feathers of imported exotic species.

Parasol, 1869

Foto: Christa Losta

© Wien Museum

Parasols protected the delicate complexion from an unwanted tan. This parasol with an Egyptian mask as a handle, was used at the opening of the Suez Canal. This historic event inspired the fashion industry to numerous designs in ancient Egyption style. The construction was completed in 1869, after ten years of work. The planning was done by Alois Negrelli, an Austrian engineer.

The grand opening ceremony in Port Said was attended by the French Empress Eugenie, the most fashion-conscious lady of her time, German Crown Prince Friedrich and Austria’s Emperor, Franz Joseph.

Ballgown, around 1865

Foto: Christa Losta

© Wien Museum

The straw embroidery on this dress makes it particularly spectacular worn over a crinoline, which was in fashion between 1838-1840 and came to a peak around 1860. The crinoline, (French: crin – horsehair) was originally a stiff petticoat that gave the skirt over it its fullness. Later this term was used for the dress itself. The horsehair petticoat was succeeded by a cage-like construction, made of steel rings, held together by verticle bands. This constuction enabled skirts to have a diameter up to three metres.

Ladies‘ skiing outfit, before 1914

Manufacturer - Sporthaus Berco, Wien VI, Mariahilferstrasse 19

Foto: Christa Losta

© Wien Museum

The skiing outfit in “Norwegian“ style was the dernier cri and a “must“ for women who took up this sport. Self-respecting ladies wore these, rather functionable, outfits and were taught by Norwegian skiing instructors. Berco was among the important suppliers in Vienna.

Summer suit, around 1890

Jacket, waistcoat and trousers

Foto: Christa Losta

© Wien Museum

Men’s suits developed in the 1860s. Single-breasted jackets became fashionable,loosly cut and worn with trousers of the same fabric. Towards the end of the 19th century, these jackets had small lapels and were more fitted. This trend continued in the everyday and business suit of the 20th century. Men’s suits were either single or double-breasted, with small or large lapels, with or without broad shoulders, loose or fitting, depending on prevailing fashion trends.

Two-piece tennis dress for ladies, around 1903

Foto: Christa Losta

© Wien Museum

Ladies who played tennis had to be dressed in a dignified and respectable fashion. That called for a well-fitting corset under a long-sleeved and high-necked bodice. Skirts went down to the ankles and were slightly flared. Playing tennis without a hat, was inacceptable. Women were allowed to take part in forms of sport that called for a particular outfit. This was obviously only for the upper class who could afford it.

Reception Dress, 1877/1880

G. & E. Spitzer

Foto: Christa Losta

© Wien Museum

Reception  dresses were worn on afternoon visits. They had to be high-necked and made of silk. Sheath-like closeness and narrow skirts only allowed for mincing steps.

Maison Spitzer was among the most exclusive. Ernestine Spitzer started her small business as a seamstress in the Kohlmarkt. In 1869, she moved to the Kärntnerring 12. Two years later, when her husband joined her, the company was named after both of  them – G. & E. Spitzer. In 1875 they  were appointed  k. und k. Hoflieferanten (suppliers to the court).  Empress Elisabeth, crown princess Stephanie, numberable archduchesses, the actresses Charlotte Wolter and Katharina Schratt were all customers. Spitzer balllgowns were often seen at court balls.

Dress for the Races, around 1900/1903

Foto: Christa Losta

© Wien Museum

Flamboyant dresses were generally worn at the races. The first of May was the most important race day in Vienna. Everybody, who was anybody of importance, aristocrats, both by birth or moneywise, rode down the Praterallee to the Freudenau (racecourse), cheered along by the ordinary Viennese people.  Here, the latest spring fashion was presented .

Bodice, around 1880

Label: Worth, Paris

Foto: Christa Losta

© Wien Museum

This piece apears to be very sophisticated, through its deep black colour. In front it is combined with cream and grey and the back has an intricate round hemline.

Charles Frederick Worth (1826-1895), was the founder of Haute Couture. Apparently, he was „discovered“ by Princess Pauline Metternich, who was married to the Ambassador in Paris at that time. Worth was the first to present his creations on living mannequins and not, as was customary until then, on dummies.