Pushing the boundaries of headwear fashion
by Klaus Mühlbauer
In 1903, Julianna Mühlbauer inaugurated a petite millinery with an adjoining store in the outskirts of Vienna known as Floridsdorf. Fast forward over a century, the familial enterprise has thrived through four generations, asserting itself as a leading contender in the global headwear market.
Taking the helm of the business in 2001, Klaus Mühlbauer has transformed the venerable Viennese establishment into an acclaimed international brand specializing in headwear. Mühlbauer seamlessly blends age-old handcrafting methods with modern design sensibilities. Collaborating with designers Nora Berger and Selma Klima, Klaus Mühlbauer annually pioneers new headwear collections for both men and women. Each collection pushes the boundaries of headwear fashion, embracing experimentation to perpetually innovate. With a keen eye on the pulse of fashion, Mühlbauer endeavors to craft headwear that seamlessly integrates into our everyday lives and complements our attire.
„The fascinating aspect of hat making is the creative intervention on the head – the most visible part of the human body. With the application of the appropriate finesse and know-how, one can work true wonders: shaping style and identity.“Klaus Mühlbauer
Partnerships with esteemed designer labels such as Kenzo, Junya Watanabe/Comme des Garçons, Akris, and Vanessa Bruno, among others, underscore Mühlbauer’s commitment to advancing headwear fashion. Renowned for their superior quality materials, Mühlbauer products set the standard for aesthetics. It’s no surprise that over 60% of hats produced in their Viennese workshop find their way to international destinations. Adorned with the distinctive sweeping ‚M‘, Mühlbauer headwear graces the shelves of premier stores worldwide. Thus, it’s hardly astonishing that illustrious figures like Brad Pitt, Meryl Streep, Madonna, and Yoko Ono count themselves among Mühlbauer’s clientele.
The flagship stores in Vienna epitomize the design and craftsmanship of Mühlbauer’s handmade hats.
The manufacturing process:
The cornerstone of hat-making lies in the creation of a felt or straw hat. This is where the skill of the hat-makers and milliners truly shines. The starting material is what’s known as the hat blank. This blank is hand-pulled onto a wooden hat block and secured in place (blocking). The shaped, still damp hat is then dried in an oven. Once dry, the hat retains its form. It then moves to the millinery, where it is „trimmed“, meaning it is decorated and finished with meticulous craftsmanship.