Dagmar Rosenbauer ensures that the so-called “Flitterkranz”, a festive headdress, continues to inspire traditional costume wearers. She is the only one to produce original copies based on historical models. In doing so, she is doing her bit to keep an old custom alive.
Franconian “Flitterkränze” by Crown Maker Dagmar Rosenbauer
Dagmar Rosenbauer sits at the table in her workshop shop in the picturesque village of Kunreuth in Bavaria’s “Franconian Switzerland” region. Around her, the shelves and cupboards are filled to the brim: with traditional costume fabrics, silk embroidery threads, ribbons, braids, jewellery and buttons – everything is neatly folded and sorted. Hidden in countless little boxes and cases are wires, flickering platelets, handmade or blown-into-shape hollow glass and cut glass beads.
Dagmar skilfully twists bullion wires, forms rosettes from them and threads on beads and tinsel. Time and again from the beginning, weeks of loving handwork. Together with cardboard hoops, golden braids and plenty of patience, Dagmar makes a traditional festive headdress based on a historical model: the so-called “Flitterkranz”.
On church feast days, unmarried girls would wear the headdress. “The wedding was the last occasion on which such a headdress was worn,” explains Dagmar Rosenbauer. This tradition has existed in Franconian Switzerland since the end of the 18th century.
Love At First Sight
Her fascination for traditional costumes has accompanied Dagmar since her youth. She still remembers her ‘aha’ moment: “At that time, I had just moved into our new house with my parents. The weeds in the garden had to go, so about ten gardeners came to us in Franconian workday dress. Those colourful embroidered bodices, the colourful traditional costumes – that was totally my thing. I wanted that too.” Love at first sight, so to speak. Her mother saw it differently: “She thought it was only something for old women,” says Dagmar.
But she was not dissuaded from her enthusiasm and began to experiment. “When I was not quite of age, I dared to make my first traditional “Flitterkranz”. That’s when I still bought things in the craft supplies. At that time, I didn’t have any expertise and I just said: Ok, yes, I’ll give it a go.”
The final result, says Dagmar, was not quite perfect; the platelets were too shiny. “It was more of a disco crown,” she says, laughing. But then: I made it into the local news, and so people began approaching her who wanted Dagmar Rosenbauer to restore their own “Hohe Kränze”.
She acquired her skills and knowledge herself over the years. It began in 1979 as a passionate hobby, and today, it is her profession: Dagmar has been restoring and making bridal crowns for more than 30 years. She has been running her own shop for traditional costume accessories for 24 years. As she is not a trained tailor, she works with master tailors for her historical and modern costumes. Dagmar Rosenbauer delivers on customer wishes of all kinds, while advising on and working each piece according to traditional patterns.
Patient Manual Crafts
The "Flitterkränze" found in the Alps and in part of the Upper Palatinate are shaped like a baguette. In Franconian Switzerland, the shape is crown-like. “In terms of workmanship, they are the most elaborate I know of,” says Dagmar.
"Flitter” are stamped metal or brass platelets that are used in the crowns. She threads 3,500 to 4,000 of them individually in a three-step operation in about 430 hours of work – all by hand.
„It has to be done by hand, it can’t be done by machine; even a robot would fail.“
With a drill equipped with a foot switch, she twists wires into stems, from the end of which the end result is then suspended. At an hourly rate of EUR 5.90, the price for a “Flitterkranz” is roughly EUR 2,500. There is no other way to pay for the one-kilogram headdress.
“Only real enthusiasts in our region still shell out a lot of money for it. That’s why I restore more than I make new crowns. And it has to be done by hand, it can’t be done by machine, even a robot would fail.”
Crown Art and Sustainable Costume
Dagmar is the only one in the region who still masters the craft of crown making. This makes it all the more important for her to cultivate this regional tradition of costume culture. “A traditional costume like this is expensive to buy, but it’s the cheapest clothing you can own,” she says.
Traditional costumes are cut for life and are, therefore, sustainable by nature. The secret lies in the seams: “The old seams have the advantage that it is much easier to make things bigger or smaller without having to buy something new straight away. The costume grows with you!"
Young people in Franconian Switzerland, in particular, are currently showing increasing interest in the traditional costume culture from their home region. And Dagmar has one special observation: “People who have been to other places, who have looked beyond their own horizons, are more likely to discover the value of regional traditional costume culture than those who have always stayed there”
... from Dagmar
Annafest in Forchheim
It is spectacular because it takes place in the middle of the forest and every form of music is played there. You will also see many people in traditional costumes. There’s something for everyone there. Going “into the cellars” to drink a beer is a very special treat in our region. It’s also much cosier than other folk festivals, you can always find a space somewhere.
alladooch-annafest.de (only in German)
Walberla in Kirchehrenbach & Samba Festival in Coburg
Typical sights also include the “Walberla” hill in Kirchehrenbach, the “Teufelshöhle” cave in Pottenstein and the Basilica in Gößweinstein. For those who love samba and dancing, I recommend the Samba Festival in Coburg.
In the Pfalzmuseum (Palatinate Museum) in Forchheim, there is also a museum of traditional costumes, among other things.
kaiserpfalz.forchheim.de (only in German)
The rocks in Franconian Switzerland and the tributary valleys are also always beautiful.