No need to visit H&M when in a foreign city unless you desperately need clean t-shirts. But go to the Graben to see Vienna’s most shocking display of incongruity. This Grunderzeit building once housed E. Braun & Co, the temple of fashion during the late Habsburg Empire. Note the mahogany marquetry fittings now framing mass produced buy-one-take-one dresses. Watch the beautiful glass and brass elevator now loaded with tank tops from Bangladesh. The majestic crystal chandeliers now illuminate €2 polyester panties.
Still on the glass doors: “BRAUN & CO: Southampton, Palm Beach, New York, Wien, Berlin, Karlsbad, Prag.” The Swedes have won the global chain store competition, but have lost in true fashion.