What: Interview with Keld Mikkelsen about his fashion-label 'Day Birger…
Who: Gerhard Gössl, Entrepreneur
Where: Salzburg, Austria
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The man wears garb. Principally. This is not really surprising as he’s well placed: Gerhard Gössl is the world’s biggest noble garb manufacturer and therefore an expert for dirndl, cardigans and lederhosen. Since the 80s Gössl leads his company, which was founded 1947 by his parents in Salzburg, with discipline and consequence. Mother Grete – a laundry maker from Thuringia – and father Leopold focused on production of blouses.
Nowadays the traditional company clothes with 40 stores and over 100 outlets in Germany, Austria and South Tirol from head to toe. Thereby Gössl attaches special importance in quality: lots of pieces are handmade, with lots of love for detail. “Into every dirndl, whose bodices are processed with baleen, we sew a luck-penny”, explains the manufacturer.
A Gössl-dirndl suits – perfect. What are you looking at first, if you meet a dirndl-wearer? “At the whole presence and how the woman moves in the dirndl”, says Gössl and laughs. Yes, he’s conservative and tradition is from importance. Not just some fast-paced trend.
“The special feature of our brand is the differentiation and the genuineness, which is also much appreciated by our young clients”, says the studied economist. As keeper of the original he’s against trash and so-called fantasy-dirndl: “They’re only medial big. A temporarily appearance”, states Gössl. “The classical garb therefore survived because it creates identity.”
Cultivating this identity of architecture, language and garb is Gössl from huge importance. In 2000 he purchases the former castle hotel St. Rupert in Salzburg, renovated and expanded the baroqueized renaissance-construction, which since then is called ‘Gwandhaus’. Austrian – without the ‘e’. “The word Gwand is the original word for garb.”
Since the middle age the hall-type exhibition- or warehouses of this cloth industry are called Gewandhaus or Tuchhalle. There, the dressmakers sold cloth. Today, the beautiful estate serves as headquarter of the company, tailor shop, restaurant, but also a room for events and cultural meetings: a place for all senses.
There Gössl occupies 60 employees, five designers create 20 different dirndl per season. Furthermore the atelier is a kind of stage and the ‘Gwandhaus’-visitor can see how the dirndl are being needled and they can deepen into the history of handcraft in the worldwide biggest handwork archive. Some time ago Karl Lagerfeld came by and had an intensive look around. Apparently he was impressed: the actual Chanel-collection is one garb look, an adaption and at most homage to the original. “Everyone should wear what he likes”, means Gerhard Gössl. “Our classics are not for a season, they do also stand for the whole live.” BvH
Gössl’s ultimate styling tips:
1. Never wear nylon stockings with a dirndl
2. Dirndl and high heels counted as “no go”. Today it’s okay.
3. What counts as chic in Bavaria is in Austria scorned: the underskirt belongs under the dress and should not be visible.
4. A dirndl has to fit perfectly. Too tight dirndls apply as unmistakably message.
5. Be careful with the loop of the apron: the loop tied on the right side means ‘in a relationship’ or ‘married’. Left means ‘single’, centrically stands for ‘virgin’. Only widows – or waitresses – wear their loops on the back. Not only during the ‘Salzburger Festspiele’.
Contact Gerhard Gössl:
Morzger Straße 31
5020 Salzburg, Österreich