Wednesday, March 21, 2012

LANZ Originals (1940's-1970's)

Source, source (Do you see what I see, Mabel?!)

How're you fixed for Lanz Originals?

I've been seeing more and more of these cropping up in my vintage rounds and I'm telling you, I'm kind of in love. Do you like folk prints, feminine silhouettes, and cute little added details like removable straps and frontpieces? ((pause)) Don't lie!

According to the Vintage Fashion Guild website (a MUST USE for clothing retrophiles), Lanz started as an Austrian folk-wear label in the early 1920's, gaining international popularity from tourists bringing the colorful costumes used in music festivals home with them as souvenirs. Founder Josef Lanz himself followed his creations to America in the 1930's to create Austrain-inspired readywear for a US audience.
By the 1940's, Nornie and Werner Scharff owned the American rights to the company (then separate from its European sister label) and are responsible for most of the examples you'll see below. And what do we see....

Buy 'em here, here, and here

More folk-inspired, cute, pretty little ditties to wear out on a summer's day-date. Pair any of these with huge Jackie O sunglasses and a slung over shoulder satchel and you're ready to grab coffee at one of those downtown places that boast outdoor wrought iron furniture. Many of the early to mid 70's designs feature strawberries, little folksy flowers, and other items to make you feel like you could easily join the Sunshine Family in their sartorial splendor. I actually have a sundress in a denim-type color from their label, with a strawberry motif, that I purchased IN SPITE of its wildly narrow, almost concave waist measurements in the hopes that it will some day fit me. These things are too cute to pass up! I'm always surprised to find a button where I wouldn't have thought to put a button, a bust flattering tie-back where I wouldn't have thought to put a tie-back, etc, etc.

(Etsy listings here, here , and here)

There seem to be two camps of Lanz originals available through your regular Etsy or Ebay shopping rounds... one is comprised of the 70s boho items I was telling you about, and the other of 1980's, floral pieces with the same amount of workmanship, yet less woodsy/suited for outdoor festivals and more Moonlighting/suited for dinner-with-friends. I'm still crazy about the floral dress at left on the above set...check out the pert little bow on the belt, and the diagonal slash of teal/pink/black... spices things up a bit, right? The dress flanking the wedding dress to the right, has a wham-bam combo of bright, aquamarine cornflowers exploding down from the bodice onto a violet background. And the wedding dress... well, heck, how I am not going to like a little "Little House on the Prairie Weeding Eleganza" number as such? Answer: I can't. It's so cute.

Oh! I almost forgot! Camp #3: attention, vintage campers, I almost forgot about one of the most important subcategories! And you were gonna let me. ((tsks))

(See their Etsy listings here and here)

I think these two beauties are probably from the still-Austrian-owned time period of Lanz. Look at the dainty, alpine patterns on these shirtwaist pieces!! I canNOT get over the little red cap detail on the left, which marks the even littler little head of the Swiss Miss in the pattern. Click on either of them to get a better look at the dainty WONDERS that are going on in the print. My heart heeds the siren's call of it, but my pocket can't bear the burden. Le sigh. You really have no idea how happy I would be in either one of these.

(See listings here, here)

One more possibly earlier print to the left, and an example of a 1980's does 1950's plaid jumper with cute-as-a-button...wait for it...button detailing! I have a similarly plaid dress, except in a forest green color, that features a removable front-piece that is attached by three buttons to either shoulder. With it on, it looks like a high-necked, pinafore style dress with a large bow in the back. With it off, it looks like a v-necked dress with button details on the shoulders. HOW. FABULOUS. I wish all my dresses had such Transformers-like super powers. I'd show it to you, but it's somewhere in the attic with the heavy-winter clothes. Tant pis.

(See the dress at left's listing here and the expired listing here)

Last but not least, my Lantz MVP's!! The dress on the right has all the swagger of a Bowie worn, Yamamoto designed pant-jumper, but contained in a single safe dress. See how the lines make it look like two legs, but it's all one piece? I'm a fan. Sadly, as you can see from the caption above, the dress on the right is actually an expired ebay listing but OH MY GOD ARE YOU LOOKING AT IT. AAAAND in my size. If it hadn't sold several months ago, you know I would be somewhere taking out a bank loan, right this moment, to secure this Hansel-and-Gretel print maxi sundress as my very own. I don't know if I've seen a dress more suited to my personal taste in my life. But maybe it's twin will find me some day?

((detail...which I look at while crooning Roy Orbison's "Crying" to myself. Next time around, man!))

Nowadays, Lanz of Salzburg is still a brand, but seems to mainly do flannel, full length nightgowns. Boooo! Bring back the Alpine prints for ready wear, please!

You can see me in my very own Lanz (which I happen to be wearing today, as well! Can you tell where the inspirado for this post came from) on this blast-from-the-past last year blog edition of "The Clothes off My Back" by clicking HERE. It's the black one with the white lace collar. I've been wearing this guy since 2001, and we're still in style!

Do you have any dirndl-y, alpine themed, cute as pie pieces hiding out in your closet? What kind of a mood puts you in the frame of mind to wear your cutest elegant-little-girl ensemble? Are you now or have you ever been a Lanz fan? Do you know someone who could hook me up with that freakin Hansel and Gretel dress? Do tell!

Further reading:

LANZ company history from the aforementioned Vintage Fashion Guild website

This article from Life magazine mentions Betty Betz, 1940's/50's teen advice columnist, marrying Josef Franz and wearing his designs/designing some of her own for Lanz. Wow!

Til next time.


  1. Ooh, very interesting history! I KNOW I have at least one item with a Lanz label, but I haven't a clue what it is. I'll definitely take a peek through once we're moved and I can unpack!

  2. i´m austrian and i have to confess i didn´t know that lanz made such gorgous dresses, i only know the nightwear and the dirndls, which i also love. great and very informative post darling!
    love and kiss,mary

  3. oh that hansel and gretel dress is incredible!

  4. ooooh! they are all so beautiful! I love love love them. I really want the first one you posted! :D

    love, polly
    the littlest polly
    Paulie Antiques

  5. I LOVE all of the dresses! They're gorgeous!

    Clare x



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