Last year, when we were visiting my family (aunts, uncles and cousins) in Switzerland, my aunt asked me if I wanted her “Tracht” from when she was a little girl. She said her two daughters didn’t care to have it, though they thought I would be interested. I jumped at the chance. About a year or so before that, my mother had giving me hers, too, from when she was little.
Trachten are Traditional Swiss Gowns (Dresses for woman and suits for men). In addition to each Kanton (eg. state; seen here) having it’s own, there are also different Trachten for each profession; work day Trachten; national Trachten and well as Trachten that show your place in society (think back to the time of kings and queens and a caste system; though Switzerland was never ruled by kings and queens, there was a social hierarchy). Some are absolutely gorgeous, as seen here. Most of them are now worn as part of dance groups and when attending traditional Swiss engagements.
Zoë is just about the age where the smaller of the two would fit her. So, at the beginning of the month, I set up the lights and took a few pictures of her.
So, my grandparents owned and operated a farm in Switzerland, which my uncle runs now. The farm is on the outskirts of Malters, a small town near Luzern in central Switzerland. The farm is actually in a quad called Eimatt (sounds like “I-maaaatt”). The one Zoë is wearing is a Sunday Tracht for children specific to the region. The apron is made of silk; the dress is made of wool, and the blouse is made of cotton. The crochet neckerchief is also made of cotton. The flowers on the bib of the dress are hand stitched. Actually, all of these gowns are still handmade by seamstresses in Switzerland.
Zoë was really good and very patient with me while I took her picture. At one point, I let her play with a sewing box (Näh Trückli) I received from my mother, who in turn received it from a friend who returned to Switzerland. The next picture is totally her – and a classic. And as a Swiss acquaintance pointed out, it looks like a painting by Swiss artist Albert Anker.
Dominique Angle is a family photographer in the Chattanooga, TN area. If you’re interested in a booking a session, please contact her.