The Galliano debacle: a fall from grace


This is probably one of the biggest moments in fashion for the year 2011, and it’s only March now.

John Galliano is suspended from the fashion house of Dior where he was the chief designer, on Feb. 25, after his reported anti-Semitic remarks surfaced.

It’s not like the Galliano debacle is the first time when the fashion industry crosses path with discrimination issues. Carine Roitfeld, editor-in-chief of VOGUE Paris, once painted white model Lara Stone black for an editorial. Discrimination in the industry is sugarcoated with righteous actions like sacking Galliano and strongly condemning Roitfeld, but deep inside, the problem still exists. Just try counting how many more white cover girls are there than black ones.

That being said, any bad publicity is good publicity. The 50 years old British fashion designer’s statement may have caused him his job, but is he no longer Galliano after the incident? Probably not. Plus Galliano has long been known as fashion’s “Bad Boy,” rebellion and departing from the norm is in his blood. He did take it a little too far this time, but it’s definitely not something you wouldn’t expect from him.

Some suspect that Dior has been upset about Galliano’s constantly declining work in the past seasons, and has simply made use of the designer’s recent comments to replace him with Givenchy’s Riccardo Tisci. Others plainly relate Galliano’s dismissal to Dior’s obvious attempt to minimize lost derived from this major publicity crisis. Whatever reason it is, we can be certain that Galliano is out of the game after nearly 15 years at Dior. The only question that remains, is the fate of his own “John Galliano” label that is financed by LVMH, the company that also owns Dior.

Stating “I love Hitler” and allegedly calling a French lady “dirty Jew face” may have disgusted Natalie Portman, but other than being detested until people finally get bored of the political correctness, we shall agree that Galliano may well be making his grand comeback after all with the support of some industry insiders.

A surprising abundance of people, from fellow designers to editors, are cutting Galliano slack this time around.

Designer Jean Paul Gaultier questioned the authenticity of the tape, which does look kind of suspicious (at least to me), whereas Patricia Field, stylist of Sex and The City and friend of Galliano, even called what happened “theatre” and a “farce.”

Despite the controversial, there is yet one thing we can all come to consensus on – we already lost Alexander McQueen, and while we are still mourning for that loss, please behave yourself Monsieur Galliano, because we don’t want to lose you too.