5 Questions for Rebecca Schilcher
As part of our Hallstatt adventure, we discover a delightful traditional boutique/ dirndl workshop, run by a petite, pretty lady. It smells of steam irons and fabrics and I feel transported back to my childhood when I grew up in the tailor shop of the Carinthian Heimatwerk, which my mother headed. The displayed dirndl on the tailor’s dummy, which attracts us right away, turns out to be the official Hallstatt dirndl, designed by the business owner Rebecca Schilcher and her former business partner Katharina Stork.
Rebecca Schilcher has been an independent dirndl tailor for 15 years and has worked for a long time in the costume department of the Salzburg State Theater as well as at the Salzburg Festival.
Mrs. Schilcher, how did you come up with the idea of designing a Dirndl for Hallstatt?
So far there was only a festive costume in Hallstatt, but not really a dirndl to be worn every day. So I thought it was time to design a casual dirndl that you can wear combine with different aprons. I do personally like to wear dirndls but you do not want to stand in the shop with a silken festive gown every day. So I sat down and started to draw. The result you can now see on the dummy.
So is your design now officially accepted as a Hallstatt dirndl?
Yes, it was officially approved by the Upper Austrian Heimatwerk in 2016, which makes me really very proud.
What is the design based on?
In 1750 Hallstatt burnt down completely. Even today, there are two houses at the two ends of Hallstatt, marking the area where the fire had raged. In fact, the fire broke out in the very house where my shop is located, the former house of Keferbaeck, because a maid was apparently careless and some straw caught fire. The colors of the dirndl are actually based on the story of the fire, which reduced a large part of Hallstatt to rubble and ashes and yet incited the fighting spirit of the population, so they rebuilt the place completely again. The gray of the linen body stands for the ashes, the blue of the cotton skirt stands for the simplicity and modesty of the population of Hallstatt in the time after the disaster and the pink of the apron, which can be made of cotton but also of silk, symbolizes the fire.
What are the buttons?
The silver buttons are made locally and have the shape of the ‘Hallstatt fibula’, a clothes clasp found in the ancient tombs of Hallstatt. Yet you can also use classic white mother of pearl buttons.
What does your creation symbolize?
The Hallstatt Dirndl pays tribute to Hallstatt, which rose like a phoenix from the ashes, because ambitious and humble people did everything in their power to rebuild their hometown, taking on hardships and hard work. That’s why Hallstatt stands there as you see it now and can be visited by so many people from all over the world. Basically the dirndl stands for us, the people of Hallstatt.