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Lanz of Salzburg has a venerable, if somewhat confusing history. The company was originally founded by Fritz Mahler and Josef Lanz in Salzburg, Austria in 1922 as a supplier of traditional folk costumes for the Salzburg music festival. (Yes, the festival highlighted in the Sound of Music.)  In the 1930's, Josef Lanz went to New York and started an American branch of the business. Both European and American branches of the company expanded after World War II. By the mid 1970's there were two entirely separate Lanz companies in the United States: Lanz Originals, which made dresses and Lanz of Salzburg, which is the brand we know for their cozy and traditional sleepwear today.

Although now owned by Eileen West since 1996, Lanz of Salzburg sleepwear maintains the classic style and quality it has been known for. Their night gowns and pajamas are made of 100% cotton flannel that is heavier than many brands. Brushed to be soft against the skin, Lanz fabrics will maintain their softness, heft and ease of care for years.  Each garment feels like an instant heirloom with traditional patterns, graceful touches and classic designs. The line includes long sleeve flannel pajama sets and long sleeve mid-calf gowns, among others. You will find traditional prints, such as tartan plaids, traditional Tyrolean stripes and dainty sprigged florals. Lanz of Salzburg gowns have features that women have loved for years--yokes with functional buttons for really cold nights; elastic cuffs to keep out drafts; soft gathers for a comfortable yet attractive fit  and feminine touches like lace trim.

Pajamas come in a variety of classic Lanz prints. Pajama bottoms have a covered elastic waistband with drawstring. Pajama tops can be buttoned up high enough to keep chest and neck toasty. And of course, there is the beloved Lanz flannel--soft, comfortable to wear and warm enough for the blasts of winter. Women in warmer climates can enjoy Lanz sleepwear, too. The brand offers a selection  of pretty and lightweight gowns, pajamas and robes in soft cotton lawn, cotton cambric, pima cotton jersey and seersucker--perfect for warm nights. You'll find feminine details like eyelet lace, ribbon trim, pin tucks and smocking.

Lanz also makes a line of sleepwear for infants, toddlers and children, most in the traditional prints. In fact, for some families, it is a Christmas tradition to wear matching Lanz sleepwear, from babies in their cozy footies, to little girls in their lace-trimmed  holiday nightgowns, little boys in tartan plaid flannels and mom in her flannel Lanz of Salzburg night gown and matching robe. There are even red tartan plaid nightshirts and robes for dad.

Back In Salzburg, Austria, the original Lanz company still makes the traditional folk costumes they were known for, with absolutely no connection to the sleepwear  that Americans are so fond of. In fact, the Lanz of Salzburg  label is uniquely an American brand and has been for generations.

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© 2014 Andra Group, LP - Sunday, September 21, 2014 (A2).