Much more than folklore

Swiss costumes have a long tradition and are known for their extraordinary variety. They are a valuable part of our national cultural heritage. This is illustrated by historical examples depicted on four stamps, produced as a se-tenant on the miniature sheet.

A remarkable collection of traditional costumes can be found at the Swiss National Museum. Much of it was gifted by the costume researcher Julie Heierli. The Atelier Müller Lütolf in Berne, which is experienced in philately, has selected four examples from this collection to feature on the stamps. Left to right:

Lötschental: a costume as it was worn until well into the 19th century in Lötschental in Valais.  The sleeves that extend only to the elbow are a distinctive feature of the outfit. A shirt was worn underneath the costume, while a garland typically adorned the head. The apron is made of printed cotton.

Fribourg: a procession costume from the 19th century. The large amulet (the “Ginge”) and the puffy sleeves are typical features. The costume is still seen in Düdingen, Tafers and Heitenried at the “Kränzlitöchter” tradition, where it is worn by unmarried women along with the “Schapel”, an ornately decorated headdress.

Valle Verzasca: a Sunday costume as worn in the Valle Maggia at the beginning of the 19th century. Like all traditional costumes, it reflected the fashion of the day. As such, the high empire cut worn below the breast is a typical aspect of the design.

Engadin: this costume dates from the late 18th century. As it is also influenced by the fashion of the period, it is called a Graubünden “rococo costume”. It is accompanied by the “Capadüsli” hat and is still made today. Costumes from this region are documented and looked after by the Graubünden costume association.

Image source for stamps: Swiss National Museum

Jürg Freudiger

The revival of traditional costumes

The costumes documented in the five-volume publication “Die Volkstrachten der Schweiz” (The Traditional Costumes of Switzerland) by Julie Heierli (1859–1938) date from the period known as the costume revival: the nation’s costumes were revived and standardized during the 1930s by the Swiss Costume Association.