October 6, 2015, 2:48pm
NBL’s Ian Stevenson (left) and Norbert Wurm, Pick n Pay Managing Director and member of the Windhoek Oktoberfest organizing committee (right) look the part in their ‘Lederhosen’ while a model-poster represents the ladies’ ‘Dirndl’.
A major factor to the success of the annually celebrated Windhoek Oktoberfest is the costumes that naturally contribute to a well-rounded event. Namibia Breweries Limited (NBL) – a subsidiary of the Ohlthaver & List (O&L) Group – together with SKW remain excited about the annual Windhoek Oktoberfest which is fast approaching for Namibians and guests from abroad who will see the 57th celebration of the annual Windhoek Oktoberfest on 30 and 31 October 2015.
Even more exciting is the fact that for the first time in the history of the Windhoek Oktoberfest, the event will be hosted in Cape Town, at Durbanville on 23 and 24 October 2015. The efforts made by supporters of the Oktoberfest every year to also look the part, which compliments the traditional Bavarian cuisine, music, entertainment and vibe in general, has always been outstanding. This of course includes the ‘Dirndl’ – the traditional Oktoberfest attire for the ladies, and the ‘Lederhosen’ – for the men.
A dirndl is a type of traditional dress worn in southern Germany, especially Bavaria; Austria; Switzerland; and the South Tyrol, based on the historical costume of Alpine peasants. Dresses that are loosely based on the dirndl are known as Landhausmode ("country-inspired fashion"). A dirndl skirt generally describes a light circular cut dress, gathered at the waist that falls below the knee. The complete outfit consists of a bodice, blouse, full skirt and apron. In the South German dialects (Bairisch), Dirndl originally referred to a young woman or a girl, and Dirndlgewand to the dress. Nowadays, Dirndl may equally refer to either a young woman or to the dress.
The dirndl originated as a more hardy form of the costume worn today; the uniform of Austrian servants in the 19th century (Dirndlgewand means "maid's dress"). Simple forms were also worn commonly by working women in plain colors or a simple check. The Austrian upper classes adopted the dirndl as high fashion in the 1870s. Today, dirndls vary from simple styles to exquisitely crafted, very expensive models.
It is mostly worn in Austria and Bavaria, and used as an everyday dress primarily by older women in rural areas. Other women may wear it at formal occasions (much like a Scotsman wearing a kilt) and during certain traditional events. It is hugely popular also among young women at the time of a Volksfest, such as the Oktoberfest in Munich (and similar festivals), although many women will only wear dirndl-style dresses, called Landhausmode, which may deviate in numerous ways and are often much cheaper.
Great news for ladies who want to look the part, but do not really have the time go around searching for a Dirndl: NBL brought on board Namibian designer, Sophie Iiyambo - popularly known as Sophie Iiy - who is ready to dress the ladies. Sophie - a product of the University of Namibia (UNAM) - is a flamboyant fashion designer whose creations are for “the fearless lady, or gentleman - the bold individual who stands out in a way that thrills the on-looker”. Her designs are elegant and timeless.
Sophie has a passionate interest in how Namibians can express themselves in a manner that will eventually create a unified Namibian culture and as a result the Dirndl craze was born.
The Dirndls designed by Sophie for this year’s Oktoberfest is an exploration into the ultimate Namibian fashion identity. Sophie’s view is that Namibians have grown too accustomed to trends influenced by other countries. Sophie: “This is an opportunity to re-shape the perception of what a proud African Namibian German identity looks like. What makes my Dirndl designs special is the fact that I’m giving the traditional German Dirndl an African twist for the local African and some international clients. The fabric and attention to the client’s desires is taken into consideration before assembling a garment worthy of my clients taste. I am thrilled to be a part of this initiative to add an African cultural dynamic to the Windhoek Oktoberfest.” For more on Sophie and her designs, those interested can access the Windhoek Oktoberfest website at www.oktoberfestnamibia.com
Lederhosen - German for leather breeches - may be either short or long. In earlier times, Lederhosen were worn for hard physical work; more durable than a fabric garment and easier to clean. Today, they are mostly worn as leisurewear. Just like the ‘Dirndl’ for the ladies, the ‘Lederhosen’ for men is common at Oktoberfest events around the world.
The popularity of Lederhosen in Bavaria dropped sharply in the 19th century. They began to be considered as uncultured peasants' clothing that was not appropriate for modern city-dwellers. However, in the 1880s a resurgence set in, and several clubs were founded in Munich and other large cities devoted to preserving traditional rural clothing styles. The conception of Lederhosen as a quintessentially Bavarian garment that is worn at festive occasions rather than at work, dates largely from this time.
Namibian designer Sophie aims to accommodate men in the future by designing the ‘Lederhosen’. She concluded by saying: “The Lederhosen are on the way gents. Just hold on to your briefs till then.”