A lithospheric model scaled for density and viscosity was shortened obliquely in front of an indenter whose shape and orientation match those of the South Alpine indenter. Deformation was initially localized into subparallel sets of conjugate transpressive thrusts. These structures evolved into folds, which were strongly amplified and converged closer together during ongoing shortening, finally forming a series of tight antiforms. At the same time, this tightly folded structure locally accommodated significant orogen-parallel extension, attaining 100% in front of the leading edge of the indenter, but only 15% on the scale of the entire model. The internal architecture and fault pattern of the model in map view are very similar to those of the Tauern Window in the Eastern Alps, emphasizing the importance of localization of folding and shortening rather than orogen-parallel extension for its formation.