Haute Couture in St. Gallen
Haute Couture in St. Gallen
The trains run daily to Paris. American buyers flock to the city. The whole world looks to St. Gallen…but for what? If you love fashion and exquisite textiles, then a pilgrimage to St. Gallen, Switzerland should top your bucket list. In this textile city, there are many surprises waiting—from designing your own dress, to shopping for unique pieces, taking part in exclusive workshops, staying in special ‘textile hotels,’ and learning about embroidery’s fascinating history. There are many ways to immerse yourself in this special culture: by guided or self-guided walking tours through the city; by car through the countryside or on a nostalgic bus and boat ride.
St. Gallen embroidery and lace was the most important Swiss export in the early 19th century. 200 years later, innovative fabrics and materials are produced for the Haute Couture market. Dior, Gucci and Prada all operate in St. Gallen. No important fashion show in Paris, Milan or New York is without St. Gallen textile creations.
Fabric aficionados get their thrills in the Textile Museum, and a look behind the scenes before the designs hit the international catwalks. Another way to experience the world of St. Gallen embroidery is to take a special theme tour offered by St. Gallen-Bodensee Tourism. This package includes a city textile tour, plus a night in one of the region’s participating Textile Hotels, whose rooms are furnished with specialty fabrics, luxurious drapes and wallpaper from St. Gallen design ateliers. Visitors can also learn firsthand how haute couture fabrics are created and watch the designers at work in two exclusive workshops.
Touring for Textiles in Eastern Switzerland
Textile Tours offered by St. Gallen-Bodensee Tourism takes visitors around Eastern Switzerland, bringing exquisite fabrics and cloth to life. On the “Textile Land Classic Tour,” guests are first shown the Textile Museum in St. Gallen; driven by an Oldtimer-Postauto to the Saurer Museum in Arbon on Lake Constance; and then via ship to Rorschach to view the unique “Swiss Textile Collection” at Forum Würth.
Self-guided car option: explore Eastern Switzerland (by car) with self-guided Explorer Maps provided by the tourist office. Take time to cruise the countryside with your choice of two unique half-day tours: “Textile Explorer North” and “Textile Explorer South.” Both self-drive tours feature fun and interesting stops at various handcraft history museums and lifestyle exhibits around the area.
Active travelers learn about St. Gallen’s textile tradition on a five-kilometer walking tour. Starting at the tourist office, the tour weaves past historic textile buildings throughout the Old Town of, St. Gallen. At each stop, there are brief descriptions about the building’s history, architecture and current occupants, with plenty of cafés along the way to take breaks.
Textile Treasures at the Tourist Office
Everyone needs textile accessories before leaving St. Gallen and the tourist information center near the UNESCO World Heritage site has perfect souvenirs and gifts. Choose from special handmade textile pralines, shawls, notepaper, scarves and other soft accessories. This is also the home of the one-and-only Bear Info Desk—unique in all of Switzerland. The bear is St. Gallen’s heraldic animal that graces the city’s coat of arms. The bear desk “skin” was made from 1000 3D-printed tiles after an embroidery pattern from textile manufacturer, Bischoff Textil.