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Designer Katharina Kaesbach | © Katharina Kaesbach
The Home of Expressive Fashion
On Sigmund-Haffner-Gasse in downtown Salzburg, we discover Katharina Kaesbach’s creative realm: Inside her boutique, with a workshop right next to it where she tailors her pieces, she sells her off-beat creations – from business fashions to eveningwear and haute couture.
Born in Switzerland in 1974 and growing up in Germany, after her dance studies Katharina Kaesbach moved from Holland to Salzburg in 1997. She first opened a wholesale business for dance shoes in Nonntal, before finally founding her own fashion label in 2004. One year later, the talented designer brought out her first collection for the Salzburg Festival.
Her extravagant pieces now occupy a permanent place on the Salzburg fashion scene, a city otherwise known as the “capital of folkwear”. So, how did it all begin?
I don’t have a classical education, something I am actually quite proud of, especially since that is also an idiosyncrasy of my line. Back then, my husband and I owned a wholesale business in Nonntal for dance- and athletic shoes. The first time I stood in the store wearing an outfit I had completely designed myself, a lady came in – incidentally, still one of my most loyal customers – and said, “I have simply got to have that, too!” And that was my start.
What do the customers of Katharina Kaesbach come looking for? Or perhaps more accurately, what do they discover?
They discover themselves. And that’s what my style is ultimately all about. It is totally timeless. Something that makes women of very different types and cultures beautiful. I always say: If the fashion you are wearing gives you a good feeling, then your personality also becomes radiant. That’s when you project charisma and authenticity. And for me, that is true beauty.
How would you characterize Salzburg’s fashion world?
I find Salzburg is incredibly fertile ground for fashion. In my experience, the closeness to tradition also breeds a real appreciation for authentic craftsmanship. Our weekly markets, for example, have something very tender about them. There are many places in today’s world where you just don’t find anything like that anymore. This is part of what makes Salzburg so distinctive and unique.
How important is the internationalism of a city like Salzburg that lives from tourism?
I am in Salzburg because it is how it is; because Salzburg is a hotspot of beauty in this world, one that draws people from around the globe. I love the international flavor, partially because I also embody it. I am Swedish, Scottish, Dutch, German, and born in Switzerland. Because of that, I don’t feel tied down to a single place, which makes me very free. Although we want to take our business out into the wider world, Salzburg is very much our anchor.