rescue the hat
At the beginning of the 1990s, hats were not high up on the list of fashion must-haves. What can be done without an advertising budget, before the era of internet and social media to generate publicity for a difficult product? A hat event had to happen! So some 60 friends were pressed into service – equipped with a hat and hatbox and sent out on a Saturday to walk for hours up and down busy inner city streets. As you can imagine, this action really was a sensation.
The Austrian artist Michael Kienzer’s work often refers to the space and social relationship of the surroundings in which his sculptures and installations are placed. These generally switch between succinct and powerful, sometimes they are both at the same time. However, they always appeal somehow. The only question was how Kienzer, was going to tackle the poster. Of course he didn’t have a problem with it and created a Spring/Summer 2014 landscape of craters made of viska hat cones.
Nowadays the hair decoration worn to special events is called a “fascinator”. Several famous hat makers and milliners concentrate their entire efforts on crowing heads with these head trappings for horse races and royal weddings. The person underneath, because of these crea- tive effusions, becomes totally invisible. At Mühlbauer, a relevance to current fashions is established, even when designing fascinators. Naturally they should also be glamorous and eye-catching.
The steam bell is not only one of the most important tools for making felt hats, but it’s also the secret star of the workshop. There’s hardly a visitor who can resist walking past the over 100 year old steam bell without taking a photo of it. The moistened felt cone is popped under this apparatus for about five minutes to be made hot by steam. Only when the felt is hot and damp can it be stretched and finally clamped over a wooden block.
the cord hat
The cord hat was invented by Heinz and Brigitte Mühlbauer in the early 1980s and has been a best seller since its conception. As is currently the case, there was a real national costume boom at that time. But instead of always making the same traditional headwear, Mühlbauer sought to interpret it anew and move it into another corner. So, a handful of cords and ribbons in various sizes and colours were draped unceremoniously around a hat. Voilà: the cord hat.
The model Calla is something like the figurehead of the Oktoberfest Collection. This capsule collection takes traditional hat shapes from the alpine region, adapts and develops them without hiding their origins. In the Oktoberfest Collection, the party element certainly needs to be included. The exaltation of this ‘Fest’ has definitely transferred itself to Calla. But this doesn’t mean drifting off into slapstick, just digging a bit deeper into the heart and soul of the event.
The national and international fashion press has always been positively disposed towards Mühlbauer. Sometimes looking at a particularly beautiful publication, it’s astonishing where the journey with hats from Austria can go. From Vogue to Elle, Marie Claire and Monocle to the Herald Tribune, every publication that either has a name, standing or an avant-garde approach is included. Photographed and styled by the top people in the business and those who will get there.
The show is the champion’s league of fashion presentation. And for a hat label a particular challenge. Despite show-stopping headwear, it’s about creating a look where the hats remain the stars of the catwalk. This exceptional event has been tested five times so far: Three times at the Viennese Fashion Festival and twice during Tokyo Fashion Week.
Austrian artist Gregor Zivic. His work is made up of narrative pictures from extreme perspectives, in which he plays with childhood memories and the simulation of a world that can never exist. During these stagings, he normally wears a small orange hat. This was probably an additional reason for asking Gregor Zivic to design a Mühlbauer collection poster. For the Spring/Summer 2009 collection, Zivic created a grand parallel universe, in which hats are created, in an utopian manner, by…
Until 1962, the hats were produced in the cellar of the Mühlbauer home in Floridsdorf. Later on they moved to the centre of Vienna, to Schwedenplatz. It was very practical, as a hat shop could be opened right under the workshop, and this remained in business until 2003. Here in downtown Vienna, the Mühlbauer workshop still exists today. It really is the last of its kind in the city. All the hats are designed here and produced in a traditional handcrafted manner.
a film by Daniel Riera
Daniel Riera is definitely one the best fashion photographers working today. He works for Vogue, Monocle and Purple. Rieras work can be many things, sometimes funny, sometimes bleek, sometimes surprising, sometimes moving, one thing it always is: very emotional. For Mühlbauer he didn’t just create the Spring/Summer 2013 poster, but made an entire film out of it. For this, Riera wanted the Mühlbauer family to dance the waltz for him – and his wish came true.
Brad Pitt <3 Mühlbauer
1 thing in advance: Mühlbauer doesn't outfit celebrities.Despite this, famous people can often be spotted wearing hats with the M, which they have obviously bought themselves. Madonna was one of these, Meryl Streep, George Clooney and Yoko Ono. Pitt’s stylist discovered Mühlbauer and called the Viennese workshop. During the collaboration many, many hats were sent to Hollywood - this lovely man let his picture be taken wearing them. The milliners have hung the photo on their wall like an…
natures of conflict
Nora Berger and Kathrin Lugbauer are the two designers of the Austrian fashion brand “Natures of Conflict” (NoC). And these two designers are particularly close to Mühlbauer – Nora Berger is pretty much Klaus Mühlbauer’s right hand when designing the hat collection. This close connection to Mühlbauer manifests itself regularly in very special cooperation hats. Like here, in the Spring/Summer 2014 collection.
Mühlbauer <3 turban
The turban had its big first appearance in Western fashion in the 1920s. In the 1960s, it made a spectacular comeback only to disappear completely from all headwear hit lists a short while later. At Mühlbauer, they were, independent of political or religious references, always pro-turban. In the Spring/Summer 2008 collection, everything was pointed to the turban. A leading style was called Omar and inspired by the Indian turban, in which the fabric is crossed over the forehead.
the eighties and Mühlbauer
In fashion terms, not much was left out in the 1980s. The hats of the era were also – politely expressed – pretty gross, not exactly an advantage when trying to expand the number of every day hat wearers. Mühlbauer placed its hope in turbans, headbands, and small hat highlights. The snood Adelheid made of angora jersey became the bestseller.
Hat or cap? When hats wear jumpers, this question doesn’t arise any more. At Mühlbauer, a completely new type of headwear was created for Autumn/ Winter 2006: in order to make the felt hat more acceptable and give it an additional functionality, the classic hat shapes were simply given wide knitted boarders. The so-called pullover-hat was born and is now one of the most important classics in the Mühlbauer range.