European Fashion Heritage Association

Journal Designers

EFHA Focus: Silk Dress by Gertrud Höchsmann, 1956


Notes from the Vienna avant-garde

The photo portrays an elegant dress in silk ikat. The silk is printed with a organic motif in the shades of grey, off-white and yellow. The dress has square neckline with small buttons and short capped sleeves; it is slightly gathered around the bust and fitted at the waist, thanks to a sort of belt in the same fabric, which loses on the back thanks to some invisible hooks.

This dress was designed  in 1956 by Gertrud Höchsmann. Höchsmann is remembered as one of the most upfront and avantgarde Viennese fashion designer, active in the Vienna scene of the first half of 1900. Höchsmann is known for her simple, clear-cut designs in muted colours, shaped to follow the natural lines of the body.

Gertrud Höchsmann was born in Vienna in 1902. She graduated from the Wiener Kunstgewerbeschule, where she studied under Josef Hoffmann and Oswald Haerdtl. In 1927 she opened her fashion atelier, which remained active until 1967. She was also involved in fashion education: in 1959/1960 she became the head of  the fashion class at the Academy of Applied Art in Vienna, where she remained until she became Professor Emeritus in 1972. She died in Vienna in 1990.