Művelődés-, Tudomány- és Orvostörténeti Folyóirat
2017/14           ISSN: 2062-2597
Cím: A női magyaros dolmány, mint üzenethordozó, női testeken

Title: The female “Hungarian-like” dolman – as carrying messages on women’s bodies
[Letöltés]
Szerző(k): Dezső Dóra
Rovat: Kultúrtörténet neme
Kötet: 2011/3
DOI: 10.17107/KH.2011.3.71-80
Kulcsszavak:
Magyar nemzeti viseletek, hibriditás, kitalált hagyomány, birodalom, női testek, mint üzenethordozók
Keywords:
Hungarian national costumes, hybridity, invented tradition, empire, women’s bodies as message carriers
Abstract:

Ebben a cikkben egy női magyaros dolmányt mutatok be, s azt, hogy e ruhadarab hogyan lép át etnikai-, nemzeti- és társadalmi osztályhatárokat és birtokol különböző üzeneteket más-más birodalmakkal szemben történelmi pályafutása során, mielőtt átlép a társadalmi nem határán is, s ezzel együtt jelenkori formájában, újabb üzenetekkel ellátva jelenik meg.  A magyaros dolmány történeti bemutatását alapul véve tárgyalom, hogy e ruhadarab hogyan reprezentálhatja a vágyódást egy magyar birodalom után, mely elveszett vagy soha nem is létezett, mialatt szembe állítom a magyart más birodalmak - például az ottomán, Habsburg, náci és szovjet birodalmak - domináló kultúráival.  Ezeknél az ún. harmadik tér köztes találkozópontjainál hibrid nemzeti viseletek konstruálódnak, mint a magyaros dolmány is, melyeket eszközként használhatunk női testekre applikálva, hogy egy nemzeti politikai propagandát szolgáljunk vele. Ugyanakkor ezek a hibridek értelemszerűen reprezentálják azt is, hogyan lépi át a tradicionális nemzeti a nemzet határait, mialatt ezek folyamatosan modernizáláson és újraértelmezésen mennek keresztül.



Figure 1: Female dolman, property of Katalin Hampel, published here with her permission[1]

With the first Hungarian braided dress I felt that my childhood dream came true. These garments provide a beautiful poise, and a woman can truly feel feminine in them.  (Olga Beregszászi) 

(American Hungarian Panorama, March-April 2006: 47)

Accepting the notion of “dress as a social skin” (Birriel 2008) whereby the wearer communicates a message and the viewer perceives some, the dress is a symbol, “a language readable without words”, (Tompos 2005: 25) which signifies gender, age, class, group identity and nationality to contemporaries, and which defines the political space.  In recent years in Hungary, one can witness the revival of “Hungarian-like clothing”,[2] specifically a jacket, commonly called “Bocskai”.[3] Since it is a male jacket, I set out to investigate what women might wear as a matching complement to it. When doing some market research I came across the female variant, the female “Hungarian-like” dolman, though not as an exact complement. As the female jacket (see Figure 1) reflected a troubling image to me, I looked into the history of this particular piece, the general significance of national attires and how its meaning is constructed at present. 

I will argue that the creation of a “Hungarian-like” style has been a continuous and conscious effort from the nineteenth century onwards along the boundaries of cultures, relying on the concept of “hybridity” and the notion of “invention of tradition”. I will also reason why a national style might not be successful in gaining “nation-wide” support and acceptance and therefore, it is debateable if a “Hungarian” national costume might have ever existed.

Dolman: Hybridity and invented tradition

The piece of clothing in question, the dolman was once a Turkish item, which is now marked as “Hungarian”.  In order to comprehend this phenomenon I draw on post-colonial theory and examine the concepts of “hybridity” and “Third Space”.  Hybridity refers to “the creation of new transcultural forms within the contact zone produced by colonization”. (Ashcroft et al. 2003: 118)  According to Homi Bhabha’s theory, the contact zone is the Third Space of enunciation, the intervention of which 

makes the structure of meaning and reference an ambivalent process, destroys this mirror of representation in which cultural knowledge is customarily revealed as an integrated, open, expanding code. Such an intervention quite properly challenges our sense of the historical identity of culture as a homogenizing, unifying force, authenticated by the originary Past, kept alive in the national tradition of the People. (Bhabha 1995: 37)

Moreover, Bhabha argues that

It is that Third Space, though unrepresentable in itself, which constitutes the discursive conditions of enunciation that ensure that the meaning and symbols of culture have no primordial unity or fixity; that even the same signs can be appropriated, translated, rehistoricized and read anew. (Ibid.)

Thus in post-colonial discourse, it is questionable whether there is any culture that is original and pure, free from any influences, and it is similarly challenged whether historical identity is in fact homogenizing and unifying.  Bhabha claims that hybridity has an ambivalent nature, it can reinforce as well as subvert the empire, as “the display of hybridity – its peculiar ‘replication’ – terrorizes authority with the ruse of recognition, its mimicry, its mockery”. (Ibid.: 115)  Furthermore, the ‘in-between’ Third Space where negotiations between two conflicting cultures take place can be a site for innovation as well, creating new identities. (Ibid.: 1) 

Following Bhabha’s arguments, I can conclude that the Hungarian dolman was constructed in the ‘in-between’ space where two cultures met: the dominant Ottoman and the dominated Hungarian; the dolman was then appropriated and re-read.

Besides the concept of hybridization, I also reflected on Eric Hobsbawm’s claim on invented traditions.  Hobsbawm argues that “the national phenomenon cannot be adequately investigated without careful attention to the ‘invention of tradition’”. (1992: 14) He defines the term as follows:

… ‘invented tradition’ is used in a broad, but not imprecise sense. It includes both ‘traditions’ actually invented, constructed and formally instituted and those emerging in a less easily traceable manner within a brief and dateable period […] and establishing themselves with great rapidity. (Ibid.: 1)

Hobsbawm adds “… where possible, they normally attempt to establish continuity with a suitable [emphasis added] historic past” (Ibid.) in order for new social movements to legitimize themselves.  Group identity can be manifested and reproduced by rituals, social practices, languages, and costumes. Hobsbawm dates tradition invention in Europe to the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries, thus it is an ongoing process even today, especially considering the disintegration of the “Soviet Empire” and the formation of new nation-states in Central and Eastern Europe. Still, the formation of national symbols, such as the flag, the anthem and the national costumes, can be dated to the nineteenth century in Western Europe, starting after the French Revolution and the industrialization process.

In addition to Hobsbawm’s claim, Nemes refers to Eley and Suny for explanation of the construction of national culture as “a complex process of cultural innovation, involving hard ideological labour, careful propaganda, and a creative imagination”. (2001: 806)  However, one needs to consider the fact that there are always various styles and cultures competing within a geographical area, later emerging as a nation-state.  For example, between social classes it is difficult to state whether clothing style moved downwards or upwards within the social strata system.  As Hajdu declares, the national costume “is a constructed attire reflecting the influence of state politics, with historical details and often utilizing folk costumes”, (Hajdu 2008: 33) thus inspired by peasant culture.  At the same time, one might argue that the process of cultural innovation was often led by the aristocracy. 

The invented national group identity communicated by, among others, its costume can serve various functions, of which two opposing meanings are either signifying dominance or resistance, or even both at the same time, depending on audience interpretation. These meanings can change over time, in diverse situations, signifying various messages. In the imperial context a hybrid dress that has been nationalized could also be important in the deconstruction of an empire, if one follows Bhabha’s theory of hybridization.  With respect to Hungarian national costumes, there is a long tradition of resistance against empires, such as the Habsburg, Nazi and Soviet Empires, which I believe, continues today, against newer forms of empire, such as globalization and, perhaps, against the European Union. 

Waves of creation – the emergence of Hungarian national costumes on women’s bodies

During my research, I spotted various transgressions and hybridization, which happened over time, and I am particularly interested in how the female body can be used for propaganda and how a male garment can become feminized.  I looked into the history of the female Hungarian dolman, only to find that there is none: it is a very recent creation. In general I follow Hajdu’s suggestion in setting two time periods when there was a conscious effort to create a Hungarian-like costume in expressing resistance, and I add another one, which characterizes our present day, as follows: 1) early nineteenth century, 2) early twentieth century, and 3) from the 1990s onwards.

Similarly to other countries during the era of nation state formation, Hungary devised a “Hungarian national dress” with the aim of creating the national unity during the nineteenth century. At the same time, it also expressed resistance towards the Habsburg Empire, since “many patriots in the 1840s were convinced that Austria treated Hungary as a colony and that this exploitation was leading to Hungary’s inexorable ruin”. (Nemes 2001: 808)  Both Tompos and Hajdu agree that the strict dressing regulation, originating in the Middle Ages, resulted in a complex stratified system, and in a “Hungarian costume corresponding to social status”. (Hajdu 2008: 28) Moreover, Tompos explains that already before the nineteenth century, besides having the colourful costume, noblemen also had a black set made in order to signify not only mourning, for example, the lost War of Independence of 1848-49, but also resistance and sympathy. (Tompos 2005: 26)  In sum, the bourgeois Hungarian costume was created by “nationalizing the aristocratic”. (Hajdu 2008: 30)  The style for men and women were quite different: men wore the fitted jacket (dolmány) immediately on the shirt, women wore the corset (ruhaderék). However, both sexes had outer coats (mente).[4] The technical ornaments that made them Hungarian were the special braiding (zsinórozás) and soutache (sujtás).[5] While braiding always had a practical function, namely, buttoning, on men’s jackets, women’s corsets did not have this ornament as a necessarily functional one, even if it was frequent. Interestingly, what I understand is that women’s costumes already in the early period were more prone to accept fashion and change, that is, international influence, as well as to incorporate Hungarian folk art in form of embroidery. However, women wore less frequently the national costume than men, since there were not so many festive public occasions. At the same time, women were expected to purchase and display Hungarian products “on and off the dance floor”. (Nemes 2001: 816) Moreover, “Hungarianness” was contested permanently: “patriots were … divided on whether simplicity (the unadorned cotton dress) or luxury (the richly embroidered national costume) should be rewarded”, (Ibid.: 815) and Nemes concludes that “women gained an unprecedented visibility in an emerging Hungarian public life”. (Ibid.: 817)

According to Hajdu, whose explanation and categorization inform my work, the “Hungarian dress” means either the historical dress or the folk costume (népviselet) of the peasantry until the last quarter of the nineteenth century. By contrast, the “Hungarian-like” costume is the result of a conscious creation effort, and would become “Hungarian” and traditional in the public opinion only after some time. For instance, the Bocskai underwent such a process. (Hajdu 2008: 38)  Nonetheless, various folk costumes, attributable to specific regions developed parallel to the creation of the national costume up until World War II.  Therefore, one may observe the inherent contradiction between the two clothing styles on Hungarian territories.

The following period when one can see a new wave of “creation”, that is, the appropriation of the dress, is the early twentieth century. This era is characterized by an attempt to combine and refresh the high-class (úri) costume with the folk (népi) costumes in order to produce the “peasant-popular middle class [since] the peasants are also part of the nation”. (Ibid.: 32)  The creation of a new Hungarian style culminated in the“Hungarian Clothing Movement” during the interwar period of the Trianon trauma,[6] when “in the caressing atmosphere of the age spirit, the Hungarian fashion was in new and huge flames”. (Iparművészet1938: 78)  Though I am aware that this trend cannot be considered as the mainstream fashion, and there have been other designer studios as well, the influence of the movement is significant. The journal Geranium (Muskátli) was established to advocate popularising folk art, embroidery and promoting primarily women’s fashion in the new Hungarian style, while the movement received the official political support by the late 1930s.  F. Dózsa claims that emerging patriotic feelings originated from the lost war and mourning over the lost territories, and that the movement was started in 1933 as a reaction and in resistance to Hitler and Germany, thus to the forming Nazi Empire. (1989: 341) One can notice that the strong propaganda, utilizing the “Hungarian Clothing Movement”, targeted women, for example, on the occasion of the International Eucharistic Congress of 1938. During the same year the First Vienna Arbitral Award also took place, giving territories back to Hungary. In this context, the call on women to wear Hungarian-like costumes might be regarded as a sign of domination, or at least the aspiration for it, representing Hungary’s revisionist politics and claiming historical legacy of the Hungarian Empire. In Geranium an unknown columnist, when commenting on a design by Klára Tüdős of the “Hungarian Clothing Movement”, suggested that noblewomen wear “equal dress”, that is, a kind of uniform,

And what would it mean if the Hungarian female society decided to protest with its Hungarian self and would participate in the Eucharistic ceremonies in such a beautifully solved dress!! […]  (Muskátli1938: 1)

reminding women of the proper thing to do, namely, to enforce strength, unity and common goal in the form of the outer bodily representation.  Besides, Ilona Farnadi, a leading female designer advocated for a modern dress, also in Geranium:

It would be wonderful if every Hungarian woman would consider it her duty to appear in Hungarian dress on such festive occasions, so that she could proudly advertise her Hungarian self in front of the many hundred-thousands of pilgrims coming from all over the world. […] We do not envisage these efforts as such that the dresses to be worn reflect the fashion of 1848 with the apron and the vest (pruszlik), but as dresses of fashionable line, modern cut, of Hungarian-like only in ornaments, and thus in overall effect. (Muskátli1938: 14-16)  

Farnadi while reviewing certain designs, explained in detail what was considered to be the real modern Hungarian-like costume. She identified three groups: 1) replicas of old original Hungarian full dress (díszruha),[7] 2) costumes adapted from old forms, and folk costumes, and fitting in today’s age, and 3) costumes of totally fashionable cut, modern line, but with small Hungarian-like ornaments. (Muskátli1938: 62) It looks ambiguous though that the first type listed, specifically, the old one is deemed modern.  Under the auspices of the “Hungarian Clothing Movement” Tüdős organized lectures titled “Hungarianization of the Big World’s Fashion”,for example, and ran design road-shows in various locations in Hungary. (F. Dózsa 1989: 335)  Tüdős created not only haute couture, but also prêt-a-porter models, therefore, making high-class fashion truly popularized and available to the wide middle classes. Among others, one could find Tüdős’s models in department store “Corvin”.  I thus conclude that there were significant efforts invested in the systematic education of Hungarian women and the fashion industry to propagate the new style: to wear the Hungarian dress as representing the aspired Hungarian Empire which fits into a greater Europe while it resists other dominating empires, such as the emerging Nazi one.  The new style also conveyed the message of cultural dominance, backed by mainstream political support.

The movement considered Hungarian fashion’s marketing important not only in the country, but also abroad. The most effective medium for communication was the Hungarian ball organized in foreign capitals. (Ibid.: 335)  It was thus important that a created unified image of the “Hungarianness”, which was a hybrid, melting the Eastern into the Western, was communicated to the West, in an era when Hungary attempted to find its own place.  By way of propagating the female Hungarian dress abroad with the aim to claim Hungary’s deserved place in modern Europe, Hungarian women’s fashion grew transnational.

Whereas women’s modern Hungarian-like fashion was a success, men’s Hungarian-like designs were failures in this period. F. Dózsa quotes a critique, who claims that “in contrast to women’s fashion, which changes rhapsodically, men’s fashion […] got frozen almost as if a uniform. […] Well, this costume is impossible to be baptized Hungarian with anything”. (Ibid.: 340)  This fashion failure only added to the phenomenon in the interwar period when women’s bodies increasingly became media in re-presenting Hungarian values and national ideology signifying both resistance and dominance since these bodies were made part of the national conservative rhetoric, according to which women were seen as protectors and healers of the traumatized nation, fully representing it in their outer bodily forms. 

Hungary’s interwar period also saw the rise of uniforms in Hungarian-like style. These designs created irredentist, chauvinist and racist ideologies, as the dominant politics and its representative bodies appropriated the Hungarian-like costumes. Therefore, the “Hungarian Clothing Movement” along with theirwomen’s fashion pieces fell victim to extreme right ideas by the 1940s, “undeservingly – as states F. Dózsa – since the costume, processing folk and national traditions, cannot help its being forced into serving inhuman ideas”, (Ibid.: 341) and the movement’s achievements were forgotten for many decades to come.

In my understanding the “Hungarian Clothing Movement” and the nationalistic ideology failed to create that nation-wide consensus which was needed to get the “Hungarian-like” costume accepted and in time traditionalize it into a “true Hungarian” costume. In most sources, scholars draw attention to those various hidden gaps existing in Hungarian society at any given moment, most importantly in this case the social class system, which fragments individuals. In the history of Hungarian clothes, as was noted above, there were two distinct categories: that of the aristocratic development leading the innovation process and that of the folk style existing in parallel. These two lines could not meet: the high-class managed to permeate the bourgeois, but could not unite with the peasantry. In addition to the class issue, historians, for example, Nemes, point out an inherent contradiction in building “national cultures”: “Hungarian national culture, which had once been a vehicle for political opposition to Vienna, now became a bulwark of an increasingly intolerant Hungarian state”, (Nemes 2001: 823) producing an effect of exclusion instead of the original idea of inclusion.  In my opinion, this notion can be applied to the nineteenth century as well as to the interwar period, whereby whoever contests the national ideas, including the Hungarian-like costume, is ruled out.

Regarding gender issues, I can conclude that women, especially of the aristocracy and upper-middle class, with their bodies and attires were in the forefront of the clothing movement since the nineteenth century. They served both as targets for propaganda and as agents of promoting new ideas.  Moreover, women’s fashion proves to be most susceptible to change and thus an excellent means to act as a carrier of additionally added messages.  In this construction of women’s bodies as message bearers, one may find some implicit contradictions: While communicating the Hungarian traditions in a novel form, it can equally reflect traditionalism and modernity, or when promoting the Hungarian in foreign territories, it can be viewed both as national and transnational.  

Today’s female dolman: Resisting the Soviet Empire and globalization

In order to comprehend the current era, one needs to look back a bit in time, and to examine Hungary’s state socialist period, during which, as a sharp opposition to the past, that is, the interwar period, high-class fashion was banned and the folk style in a very much adapted version became the regime-propagated national Hungarian costume. Upon the political changes of 1989 and dissolution of the Soviet Empire, the quality and content of the “national” was again changed: not by the new regime from top to bottom, but more as a result of some individuals’ and small groups’ activities, which reached back to the discontinued high-class fashion of the 1930s.  Today one can feel lost between the two existing and contradicting Hungarian national costumes, that of the adapted folk style and that of high-class fashion, commonly referred to as Bocskai.

In this context I met with a popular women’s fashion designer, Katalin Hampel in her downtown Budapest design studio.[8] Hampel started off as a folk costume and antique dealer in the late 1980s, and she still owns a big collection of “original” Hungarian folk costumes. Her turn towards high-class Hungarian-like fashion and design, which she calls “national Hungarian”, started when she purchased a set of tulip soutaches and applied these male jacket ornaments to a feminine-cut coat. Since then she consciously researches and designs Hungarian national attires for women with her small team.  One of her creations is the piece I chose as a starting point for my research. According to Hampel, “the piece originating from the Turkish caftan, is a Hungarianized dolman shortened, in a feminine-cut, and richly ornamented with soutaches”. Thus clearly it is a hybrid born out of the Ottoman Empire’s meeting with the Hungarian subjugated culture and later feminized by the designer.  When re-reading a statement by one of Hampel’s long-time clients, the singer Beregszászi, and when observing the selected piece of clothing, I noticed a recent hybrid, which emerges along gender boundaries. I consider this hybrid as an appropriation of the male suit, through which a redefined femininity is born in a feminized suit, which is modern as well as traditional, national as well as transnational.

As Hampel declares these national Hungarian costumes stand against the empire of globalization: “I consider it very important, that in our world of uninterceptable globalization and uniformity, we must preserve our national heritage and our Hungarian identity’s treasure, the national costume”. (T. Németh 2005)  I would add to globalization another potential empire, that of the European Union, since after Hungary’s accession in 2004 national trends in representations visibly strengthened in the country and hence European integration can serve as an additional factor to resist.  Hampel’s design efforts aim at “smuggling in our great-grandmothers’ lavender-smell elegance into our feast days”, (Sikeres Nők2002/9: 35)as she would like to see all Hungarian persons in possession of a nice Hungarian-like costume, for festive occasions. In this statement one can feel a longing for the romantic past of the “happy times of peace” (“a boldog békeidők”) of 1867-1914, through a gendered memory, that of the great-grandmother.  This romantic idealized world seen through a woman’s eyes is regarded as the best period of the Habsburg Empire, during which the Hungarian nation prospered the most.

Hampel considers Klára Tüdős’s work as exemplary; she wishes to follow in her footsteps, using original ornament schemes for adorning the costumes, which, in contrast, always reflect contemporary fashion.  However, in opposition to Tüdős, the designer cannot envisage mixing folk and high-class costumes, as “it would seem unnatural, since the form does not match with the ornaments”.  She also thinks that wearing the Hungarian full dress is already outdated and she equally critiques some other recent Bocskai jacket versions as too ostentatious, too theatrical.  She believes in the principle: less is more, and prefers smaller, signal-like ornaments.  Hampel’s critical views on simply copying the national Hungarian style as it was at the turn of the century (the full dress) or in the 1930s (Tüdős’s designs) reflect perhaps her intention to create a clear, pure version that fits the contemporary setting. In this sense her words resonate those of Ilona Farnadi in 1938, when the idea was to create a modern Hungarian piece traditional “in overall effect” – yet again, a contradiction in itself.

Although most of Hampel’s designs are better suited for special occasions, she is positive about the possibility of wearing, for example, a female suit, her Hungarian national braided jacket with jeans, tight pants and long boots as an everyday outfit, thus popularizing again this type of clothing in present-day Hungary.  However, she produces only haute couture, highly priced pieces, thus not popularizing her designs for wider audiences as did Tüdős in the interwar period.  Nevertheless, Hampel would like to see more education and promotion in order to get the Hungarian-like costume as well as the folk style accepted and appreciated widely since she thinks today in Hungary everything is over-politicized and the Hungarian costumes have no value.  In this respect I found the ambiguous point in the potential female clothing movement branded by Hampel’s name: On the one hand, it fosters community and group cohesion, and should be appreciated for its achievements. Fashion proves to be an effective tool for networking and building cohesion and solidarity. On the other hand, in my opinion, Hampel’s strategy of consciously promoting her designs with public life figures, including politicians, as salespersons, as opposed to professional models, will not yield result in terms of attracting nation-wide attention, support and creating a neutral market.  I believe, if appropriated by political ideologies, the dress cannot achieve a wide consensus.  While forming a group identity, various messages become attached to these garments, which will prevent others from entering and thus will lead to their exclusion.  The inherently present contradiction in national culture formation will prevail and the quest for creating a Hungarian national costume is doomed to fail.  When compared to the interwar period, when the fashion was backed by mainstream conservative rhetoric with the aim of popularizing the national style, contemporary national Hungarian female fashion seems to target a restricted group in relative political isolation.  Today the message might be conceived as “I am the elite and a woman”, and therefore indicates eligibility to appear in public space. The message may reflect conservative values and particularly on a person who might believe she belongs to the naturally selected group which has a mission, similar to the interwar period, and she has to carry out this mission, for which the female bodies are utilized to wear these messages.

In this article, I presented a piece of clothing and how it may transgress boundaries of ethnicity and social class, and receive various messages vis-à-vis empires along its historical route before arriving at gender transgression and picking up potential new meanings culminating in its present form.  Based on the Hungarian-like dolman’s journey in time, one might argue that it may represent a longing for an Empire of Hungary which was lost or which never even existed, in its exposure to other dominating cultures of the Ottoman, Habsburg, Nazi and Soviet Empires.  At these ‘in-between’ meeting points of the Third Space, hybrids in the form of national attires are constructed, such as the Hungarian-like dolman, which can be used as tools, attached to women’s bodies to serve national political propaganda. At the same time, these hybrids implicitly represent how the traditional national transcends national boundaries while constantly being modernized and re-negotiated.  

References

Bill ASHCROFT, Gareth GRIFFITHS and Helen TIFFIN: Post-Colonial Studies: Key Concepts. London: Routledge, 2003.

BHABHA, Homi K. The Location of Culture. London: Routledge, 1995.

BIRRIEL, Margarita M. (2008) Forms, textures and colors: Attires of domination, attires of resistance. [Lecture] Central European University, 3 November.

F. DÓZSA, Katalin. “A Muskátli című kézimunkaújság és a magyaros öltözködési mozgalom az 1930-as években.” [The needle-craft journal Geranium and the Hungarian Clothing Movement in the 1930s.] Ethnographia, 100. évf. 1989. 104 szám. 327-341.

HAJDU, Tamás. A kismagyar. [The Hungarian small dress.] Budapest: Magyar Ház, 2008.

HOBSBAWM, Eric and Terence RANGER ed. The Invention of Tradition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992.

NEMES, Robert. “The Politics of the Dance Floor: Culture and Civil Society in Nineteenth-Century Hungary.Slavic Review 60, no. 4. (2001): 802-823.

T. NÉMETH, László (2005) Posztóra paszomány.” [Soutache on cloth.] Magyar Nemzet. 24 December.

TOMPOS, Lilla. A díszmagyar: a magyar díszöltözet története. [The Hungarian full dress: the history of Hungarian festive clothing.] Budapest: M. Mercurius, 2005.



[1]Original paper copy received from its designer, Katalin Hampel on 27 November 2008.

[2]I will use “Hungarian-like costume” for translating magyaros viselet, and “Hungarian” for magyar stressing a process of traditionalizing involved. 

[3]Named after a Hungarian nobleman, István Bocskai, Prince of Transylvania (1557-1606), main characteristics of which is the elaborated Hungarian braiding (zsinórozás).

[4]The ‘dolmány’ was a fitted jacket, worn on the shirt and was buttoned up. The ‘mente’ (pelisse) was an outer coat, often lined with fur, unbuttoned, and worn on one shoulder, fastened with a string.

[5]With the Hungarian cavalry units comprised of the hussars, the style spread in Western Europe as a military uniform, thus already then became globalized and lost its national connotations. The Hungarian hussars as mercenaries were present in other parts of Europe in the seventeenth century and by the time of the War of the Austrian Succession (1740-48) the Prussian hussars were as famous as were the ones serving in the Austrian cavalry.

[6]It is named after the GrandTrianon Palace in Versailles, France. The treaty, concluding World War I, was signed on 4 June 1920, under whose terms Hungary lost over two-thirds of its territory and about two-thirds of its inhabitants. As a result, Hungary mourned its lost empire in the interwar period.

[7]’Díszmagyar’ is the full set of the high-class Hungarian costume, including not only clothing items, such as the dolman and outer-coat, but for men also a hat with feathers, a sword with belt, and boots with spurs; and, for women an additional apron and veil.

[8]I conducted the interview with Katalin Hampel on 27 November 2008 in Budapest, Hungary.

It needs to be noted that while researching I found plenty of men’s tailors offering Bocskai jackets, but hardly any women’s ateliers offering Hungarian-like female garments, which I read clearly as a sign that the current situation differs greatly from the vibrant creative life of the 1930s; it seems that today the traditional style exists in relative isolation.