LODEN

Loden is a typical woolen fabric from Tyrol, a region straddling Italy and Austria. It is a soft, warm and resistant fabric that is mainly used to make coats, capes and pants. The thick wool threads are loosely woven and the fabric is then boiled. This process, which is similar to felting, makes the loden waterproof.

From the coats of the Tyrolean farmers to the Habsburg court

In the Middle Ages, the loden was produced and worn by the peasants of the Tyrol: its color was then grayish like the raw wool of their sheep. In the 19th century, the Archduke Johann of Habsburg, brother of Emperor Franz II, was the first person from the nobility to wear this fabric. In 1800, following a military defeat, he was assigned to the Tyrol and adopted the local customs, especially the Loden. Back at the Habsburg court in Vienna, Johann of Habsburg democratized the wearing of the loden in the aristocratic spheres.

Loden became a fashionable fabric when the Mössmer spinning mill founded in 1892 made a white loden coat for Emperor Franz Joseph. The addition of merino wool made it a popular fabric for the Austro-Hungarian nobility to make hunting and riding clothes. From the original gray, Loden is woven in several colors: first white, then red, black, navy blue and finally dark green, the most common today.

The loden: a coat reinterpreted by the fashion houses

By extension, the Loden designates today a type of coat that is characterized by: a flared cut, with a hollow fold in the back, a folded collar, hidden shoulders (or shoulder flange), and open armpits to let air circulate.

In vogue during the 1970s when the material was rediscovered by several fashion houses, the loden was adopted by an intellectual elite. Austrian and northern Italian spinning mills produced lodens from alpaca, cashmere or camel hair fibers, transforming the rustic fabric into a luxurious fabric.

BOWIE, David, act. ROEG, Nicolas, dir. The Man Who Fell to Earth. 1976. 139 min. 

PICCOLI, Michel, act. GRANIER-DEFERRE, Pierre, dir. Strange Affair. 1981. 105 min. 

BARDOT, Brigitte. SACHS, Gunter. Austria. 1980. 

BERGER, Helmut, act. VISCONTI, Luchino, dir. Ludwig. 1973. 228 min. 

Uomo Vogue, no. 89, November 1979.

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