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Princess Maria-Olympia of Greece and Ella Richards in Annina Pfuel’s campaign

Alexia Mavroleon

After Bavaria’s Prime Minister, Markus Söder, announced the cancellation of the Oktoberfest festival earlier this summer, beer-loving socialites waved goodbye to the annual serving of 7 million litres of ale and thousands of pretzels in the picturesque German city, Munich. Although, the disappointment hasn’t stopped some of society’s most glittering faces, including Irene Forte, Debbie von Bismarck and Tatler’s Editor-at-Large Sabine Getty, from embracing the traditional Alpine dress worn when sipping a stein of beer at the annual festival – the dirndl.

Originating from the Bavarian mountains, the dirndl was traditionally worn by local working women in the 19th century. The once modest dress, which consisted of cotton aprons and bodices, eventually evolved to become a more fashionable item, with silk and satin versions fit for high society. Today, the traditional Alpine dress has seen a great resurgence in the fashion world. Lady Kitty Spencer wowed in a dirndl-styled gown at Dolce & Gabbana’s 2018 Atla Moda show, while Vivienne Westwood remarked on a trip to Austria, ‘There would be no ugliness in the world if every woman wore a dirndl’.

Princess Maria-Olympia of Greece in Annina Pfuel’s campaign

Alexia Mavroleon

As the traditional revival continues, there is one designer who is gathering attention in the Alpine world – Annina Pfuel, the Austrian It girl and creative director from Tyrol, who has quickly become social set’s go-to dirndl designer.

The Parsons graduate first worked in costume design before launching her own made-to-order brand, Annina Dirndl, in 2019. She was inspired to create the line after her own collection of vintage pieces was frequently snapped up by her friends for society weddings or the most exclusive tables at Oktoberfest. Now, Annina spends her time designing charming chintz and pastel dirndls from her idyllic studio overlooking the luscious wildflower meadows at the heart of the Austrian Alps, with clients including Petra Palumbo and Katrin Henkel. Meanwhile Princess Maria-Olympia of Greece and Ella Richards, two other famous fans, starred in her latest collection’s ad campaign.  The whimsical shoot was photographed at Maria-Olympia’s family home in the Cotswolds, and was inspired by Sofia Coppola’s films The Virgin Suicides and Marie Antoinette, with Ella and Maria-Olympia elegantly draped over willow trees wearing rose-printed dirndls. 

Sophia Herring and Katrin Henkel wearing their dirndls by Annina Pfuel

Instagram / annina.dirndl

Whether you are heading off to a society wedding in Austria or simply the Cotswolds for the weekend, the dirndl seems to be in everyone’s suitcase. Although, when wearing the Alpine classic Annina has one styling tip dating back to the 19th century – tying the apron’s strings towards the right side means married, tied on the left means unmarried, with Annina quipping, ‘It can be an interesting motivator for your partner to put a ring on it’.

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