Sunday, December 21, 2014

'Twas the Lanz Before Christmas...

... and all through the house the sisters were sleeping... dressed like extras in The Sound of Music.

Dreaming of a Tyrolean Christmas...

How did the fashion for Lanz nightgowns and pajamas get started? They always evoke Memories of Christmas Past, but love of Lanz took off only after WWII. Still in business today (though owned by the Eileen West company) Lanz describes itself as "epitomized by Tyrolean prints, cozy flannel, dreamily soft micro-fleece and lots of old world charm. Our sleepwear for adults and children is perfect for family photos and holidays at home."

In stock at the
Vermont Country Store

We always seem to want to return to a mythical past. The Lanz nightgown is ready to role play— from "Little Women" to "Little House on the Prairie". It takes on a life of its own at Christmas when it's "perfect for family photos and holidays at home." In my growing-up time of the '50s, if you didn't have a Lanz nightgown or pair of pjs, you wanted one. I had a friend who always found a new Lanz something-or-other under the tree every year. They weren't cheap, but they weren't out-of-range ridiculous. There were, of course, a lot of knock-offs.

"Lanz of Salzburg" is not known in Austria for pajamas. The Lanz family business (since 1922) located in Salzburg has always specialized in tracht tailoring— "tracht" being the elaborate costumes worn by farmers/peasants in the rural areas. An Austrian wishing to purchase a "Lanz of Salzburg" nightgown would have to do it online. One of the founders did open a branch of the business in New York in 1936 but decamped back to Vienna in 1939. Lanz of California was established in the 1940s and was totally independent of its European namesake.


If only to confuse the situation more, at one time there were two Lanz companies in America: Lanz of Salzburg for sleepwear and Lanz Originals for dresses. Those were very desirable— much in the way of Laura Ashley dresses two decades later. I had one as a young teen— a blue cotton dimity print— purchased at the Bonwit Teller on Boylston Street in Boston for $45. It was  one of "My Favorite Things", and I wore it till I was "Sixteen Going on Seventeen".

Lanz Originals, as coveted by teens

1 comment:

  1. I remember not only the Lanz pajamas, but also the dresses. My mother adored them.