Haute Cowture: Understanding High Class Cow Fashion In Switzerland

Haute cowture: expensive fashion for cows produced by the leading Swiss fashion houses.

Border Control

We have officially walked into Switzerland today quite unceremoniously. There were no border or passport control or security to check our rucksacks. We simply walked through a gap in the fence between fields along a country track bounded by green fields, cows, forests and mountains. The only indication that we were entering another country was a small sign and a stone marker letting us know that one side of the marker was France and the other Switzerland.

Cow bells
As we approached Switzerland the land gradually changed from crop land to pasture with cows with bells.

Changing Landscape

We have gradually seen over the past weeks the landscape gradually change from golden flat fields filled with crops, to undulating hills mixed with crop land and green pasture, to steeper hills primarily with green pasture and…cows!

Cows and Cow Bells

Yesterday we passed many fields with cows with cow bells. The hills were alive with the sound of music – a symphony of clanging cow bells as the creatures grazed contentedly. We knew then we were getting mighty close to Switzerland.

Below is a video of cows in a field wearing cow bells in Touillon-et-Loutellet, France close to the Swiss border:

The Sound of Music

A few in our posse of pilgrims were concerned about the melodious clanging of the bells on the cow’s health. Were they tone deaf? They were also curious to know why the bells are used.

Below is an audio recording of cow bells I made while I was walking:


My theory is that on the steep slopes when searching for a lost cow it is much easier to hear a cow then have to climb the slope hoping that it is there.

Walking through Switzerland no doubt our questions may be answered in good time.

Cow bells
A herd of calves I met walking along the road to Orges whom I was attempting to befriend. You can see the curious calf in the foreground.

Cow Pat

I have a love of animals and have enjoyed on our journey so far patting many horses. Arthur, a fellow pilgrim laughed at me when I had spoken about my intention of patting a cow. Owning a farm himself, he said you couldn’t possibly get a cow to come near you.

The curious calf that dismissed me when I presented her with a handful of grass. She was not impressed with my gift.

Curiosity Willed The Cow

A couple of weeks ago I had a curious calf approach me. I had a handful of grass I had pulled from the roadside verge. She stood there frozen for some time and then cautiously approached. She sniffed the grass and the moved off in disgust. The grass wasn’t greener on the other side – it still was grass. The haughty cow was letting me know that I didn’t understand the etiquette of haughty cowture.


Today I thought I would attempt approaching a full grown cow. There was no fence so I slowly walked up to her. I didn’t try the handful of grass ploy this time. I just held out my hand. She sniffed it then actually craned her neck and nudged my hand. Progress.

Cattle Cowture

I still have some way to understanding cow cowture, I mean culture. I have a lot to learn about cow etiquette.

How does one act politely in the presence of cows? Is cowtowing to a cow seen in cow cowture as the ultimate form of paying respect? Or does a cow look down you in disdain seeing it as a form of brown cow nosing? (Never insult a cow by underestimate their intelligence!). What is the best gift to present when meeting one for the first time? Do you say ‘how do you do?’, or ‘how do you moo?’.

Also, what is the latest fashion in cow bells? What bells will fashionable cows not be seen dead wearing? What is the ideal size of a cow bell? What about sound? What is the best clang to stand out from the herd?

Hope to learn everything there is to know about haute cowture from the Swiss.

Underly Curious

What about nose rings? I have seen different nose rings on our travels. What constitutes haute culture in cow fashion? We are only getting started, for instance, I haven’t seen any udder rings on cows. Are they seen as to counter cowture? Or maybe there was a fashion of udder rings years ago that I missed and having udder rings is now passé because maybe all the cattle class started wearing them. To be haute cowture means to only want the best custom made fashion, none of this cattle class cheap and nasty fashion.

Many questions. Hope to get back to you with some insightful answers as we traverse the land of cows and cow bells and cowture.

This is David Cuschieri, the official cow reporter here in Switzerland signing off.



What do you think?

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  • Tessa Wilson

    Moo-st entertaining, David. Hope you get @ the chocolate, too!

    • David Cuschieri

      Thanks Tessa, looks like Switzerland will be full of cows and chocolate. Might finish the journey putting on the kilos not losing a few!

  • Margaret Hunt

    Thanks David, so clever, love the way you view the world. Swiss chocolate, such a tribute, what a wonderful way of honouring the mighty beast. I am sure you would be forgiven a few extra few kilos.

    • David Cuschieri

      Hey Margaret, yes I will have to make the ultimate sacrifice and but some Swiss chocolate in their honour. I’ll have to do an extra few kilometres on the journey to burn the calories off…yes that is the sacrifice I am willing to make 🙂

  • Margaret Hunt

    You owe it to these mighty beasts David. In return for the inspiration and entertaining subject matter for your blog honour these cows, purchase and eat their most famous product. A few kilos here or there is the price you pay for paying homage.

  • Anne

    Ha – very amusing David……..I don’t know about Swiss cows but ear piercings are a must in the fashion world of UK cows. I’m hoping that we will hear a bit of team yodelling before long.
    On the subject of cow bells I always understood ( my insights come from the children’s classic “Heidi” ) that cow bells and sheep bells are for the shepherds and cowherds to hear where their wandering animals are……however you may find out differently.
    That you for your entertainment! Enjoy the beauty of the mountains.

    • David Cuschieri

      Hey Anne glad you enjoyed a bit of light humour as most of my blogs are a little deep at times. We will have to practice our non-existent yodelling skills. Some of the team can at least sing :), I’m definitely not one of them.
      Many of the cows don’t wear ear rings but they do have number identification ear tags. I’m sure that they feel quite indignant being treated like a number.
      I would say that you interpretation gleaned from the children’s classic “Heidi” would be correct. The terrain is quite steep and it much easier to hear an animal rather than traipse up and down mountains looking for wandering creatures.
      Yesterday as we walked to Lausanne and lake Geneva the majestic alps came into view. The next few days no doubt we will have spectacular scenery.