Szászi Hüte

    Located near the start of the Mariahilferstrasse, just outside the MuseumsQuartier, on a street that, ahem, boasts an ever-increasing number of McDonald's restaurants and H&M outlets, Szászi Hüte might seem out of place. But of all the stores on Austria's longest shopping street few, if any, have been around as long as this old-school hat maker, whose workshop is tucked away in a courtyard flanking the MQ. Founded in 1858 by master-milliner Michael Szászy, Szászi Hüte (originally Szászy Hüte) has survived the decline of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and two World Wars to remain Vienna's most prestigious manufacturer of handmade gentlemen's hats, with customers from all over the globe. These days the workshop is run by Shmuel Shapira a former yeshivah student from Jerusalem. It is in the yeshivah, a higher school for jewish studies, where he discovered his vocation for arts & crafts repairing old leather-bound books. He was then working as a kosher food-inspector in Vienna when he first came to Szászi Hüte to inquire about fixing his shabbos hat. The then-master Franz Caletka had no apparent heir, but it wasn't long before young Shmuel, who'd always been skilled with his hands, became Caletka's apprentice. Today, Shapira masters the production of classic hat models such as the bowler, panama and homburg. The felt is made from mink, sable, rabbit and chinchilla hair; beyond receiving a rather close shave, none of said animals are harmed in the process. Naturally, Szászi Hüte also still specializes in making the silk top hats that were all the rage among the 19th century gentry. Customers are advised to call ahead to schedule an appointment.Show lessRead more

    Mariahilferstrasse 4 , Vienna

    By appointment only



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