Vienna is not a first city that comes to mind when thinking about haute couture. However, this capital has its own couturier that was a true pioneer of high fashion. This month Austria marks 27th anniversary of the death of Fred Adlmüller, an eccentric designer that dressed prominent names such as Romy Schneider, Eva Bartok, Queen Margarethe II of Denmark and Frederika- Greek Queen Mother. Adored by the social elite of the time, Adlmüller obtained the status of the IT designer. He once even “stole” Grand Prix for the best hostess uniform from Christian Dior in Brussel Expo. This was the man who completely changed the way Austrians perceive fashion.
Working closely with Ladislav Czettel, Hungarian costume designer that was at the time head of costume department of Vienna State Opera, he got introduced with the magical world of theater and soon began creating unique couture pieces recognized equally by professional actresses and opera divas and Vienna socialites. Recreating Austrian version of Gilbert Adrian-Prada connection, Czettel and Adlmüller provided a piece of a fairy tale to their clients.
His boutique in Vienna’s high end Kärtner street soon became the most visited and most loved fashion spot. He was different than couture designers of the time. He never dictated fashion.
“In my life, fashion comes first. Then comes fashion, and then fashion… Again.”
In 1973 he became a professor at Vienna’s University of Fine Arts, teaching fashion design to a selected number of students. His legacy was able to live on due to Foundation of Fred Adlmüller, established in 1993. Each year, six most prominent students from the University receive a yearly scholarship in amount of 6000 Euros. Although he was not born in Vienna, he was awarded with the honorary grave. Helmut Zilk, Vienna’s late mayor stated that even though he was a “newcomer” he was “as Viennese as everyone else.” If in Vienna on September 27, do not miss the exhibition of his work in Gretl’s Exclusive Fashion in Paninglgasse street no. 18-20. If not, dedicate one weekend to watch old black and white movies for which he designed costumes. I recommend “No Orchids for Lulu”, “Fregola” and “Trees are Blossoming in Vienna”. Aside from amazing costumes, you will surely enjoy the romance of the old era.