Abstract The shape preferred orientation (SPO) of porphyroclasts was determined in high temperature mylonites. The porphyroclasts approach rhomboidal (sillimanite) or elliptical (garnet, plagioclase, sillimanite) shapes, and exhibit aspect ratios ( R) as high as 11. Particles with R>3 are dominantly rhomboidal. The long axis of the best-fit ellipse defines a very strong SPO inclined at 5–10° to the mylonitic foliation, in an antithetic sense with respect to the shear direction. This angle is independent of R. The inclination of the long sides of rhomboidal sillimanite increases from 10 to 20° with decreasing R. In contrast, the short sides have a constant orientation of 15 to 17° irrespective of R and are parallel to extensional crenulation cleavage. Low aspect ratio (mainly elliptical) objects show low intensity SPO close to the shear plane. The two SPOs appear strain-insensitive. In the case of R<3, the SPO is caused by the combined effect of the slower rotation rate of elongate objects with long axes close to the shear plane and the continuous supply, by synkinematic fracturing and grain size refinement, of new porphyroclast populations. In the case of R>3, a stable position is acquired. This is not explained by any of the current theoretical and experimental models of SPO.