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7 November 2017

South Tyrol tour, part 1: Castle hopping, the finding of fashion and women's magazines of the
mid-19th century, and the comparison to nowadays' fashion communication

by Fashionoffice publisher Karin Sawetz

Last week, I toured through South Tyrol from one castle to the other and dived into former centuries, the history of the region and people's lifestyle in past times which echo still through the Northern Italian Alps. The trails to the castles are not too long or difficult; it's easy to walk up and around the castles built from stones which were set in most cases already in the Romanesque period and Gothic during the Middle Ages. The tour brought me to castles like Lamprechtsburg (dates back to the early 11th century; walking route) at Reischach, Kehlburg in Gais (with various construction phases; the latest originate from the 18th century and 20th century), and to Burg Bruneck, the Bruneck Castle.

fig. right: The picture shows me at the round-walk at Bruneck Castle.

In Bruneck, I helped a friend to re-organize the library of a history-loaden house. Coincidentally, I found the book-bound collection of biweekly fashion and women's magazines of his great-great-grandmother who was in the 1860s in her 20ies. During this time, the region was named 'Tyrol' and belonged to Austria respectively the Habsburg monarchy; later it became the autonomous region 'South Tyrol' in Northern Italy. The magazine issues of the 'Damenkleider Magazin vereinigt mit Musterzeitung & Frauenzeitung' (could be translated as 'Women's Clothing Magazine united with Pattern Journal & Women's Journal') was published every two weeks (1st and 15th of each month) by the J. B. Metzler'schen Buchhandlung in Stuttgart, Germany. Already in the mid-19th century, fashion and women's themes were distributed and written for an over-regional audience and contained news from all over the world. At the non-representative small sample of magazine issues from the years 1866 and 1867, Paris dominated the fashion trend reports as well as views on the personal freedom of women. The content was surprisingly international: travel tips for China and India can be found as well as reports about migration movements to the United States of America or the growing of the metropolitan city London; last mentioned reports quote statistical data which were collected over decades (migration) and years (traffic in London).

fig. below: During the castle hopping and research on the magazines of the around 20-years old great-great-grandmother, I wore a sunny-fresh new fragrance. The recently launched eau de toilette 'So Real' from the 'Cheap & Chic' line by Moschino was my anchor to today's fashion and beauty communication. I used the fragrance and the flacon showing flapper girl Olive Oyl (from the early-20th century comic strip which became later known as 'Popeye') in a transparent blue dress created by Moschino's Artistic Director Jeremy Scott as quasi measuring stick for my comparisons of mid-19th and early-21st century fashion and women's journalism.

South Tyrol tour, part 2: Comparing mid-19th century journalism and nowadays fashion, beauty communication by questioning if a mid-19th century Middle European woman would understand the intention of 21st century perfumery.

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© since 1996 Sawetz