The research on Gillis Görll, tailor and fashion mystic, (1901-1975)
Gillis Görll (1901-1975), left a collection of short reflections and aphorisms at his death. A tailor, seeking God in clothing, had found the soul of fashion. Writing with a wounded sincerity, his texts bear witness of the religious depths of attire. With his concept of façon, or weak fashion, a whole new chapter has opened in our understanding of the spirituality in dress and fashion. Finally emerging from the shadows of time, Gillis Görll was nothing less than a fashion mystic.
Görll’s collection of short reflections, aphorisms, poems, and sometime prayers, records thoughts on his craft, mixed with mystical prose, but most crucially, they mark a dedicated venture to find new depths in the world of fashion. It is his unconventional approach to dress and fashion that makes Görll’s reflections worthwhile reading as an orifice for what clothes could do for God.
To Görll, to engage in dress is a practice, or perhaps more specifically what Hannah Arendt would specifically call praxis. It is not something neutral or withdrawn, but requires us to evaluate which actions that yield the most humane and practical results for the most virtuous and desirable world. By these means Görll reexamines the etymology of fashion to frame an approaches where bonds of responsibility and love tie human beings to each other through the realm of dress. Görll identifies this special quality of clothing as façon, a “weak fashion” within the realm of God, where souls meet in a mystical unity of spiritual togetherness.
von Busch, Otto (ed) (2014) A Scar of Belonging: fragments of fashion by Gillis Görll (1901-1975), New York: Selfpassage [pdf] - order from Amazon