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What’s next for John Galliano, after a French court ruled today that the ex-Christian Dior designer was guilty of hate speech and fined him €6,000?
The designer lost his job and his eponymous company this year amid the controversy that emerged when a couple complained to French police that he had made anti-Semitic comments at them in a Paris café.
But Mr Galliano’s rehabilitation has already begun, thanks to Kate Moss, who stuck by him as her wedding dress designer, and US Vogue editor Anna Wintour, who put a picture of Mr Galliano with Ms Moss in her September issue, which is the largest of the year, and included a spread on the wedding. He has been to rehab, and is staying quiet. I think the biggest challenge will be finding someone to back him in whatever he does next, given his track record, and the fact that, in most news stories hereon out, he will be referred to as, “John Galliano, the design genius found guilty of anti-Semitism in Paris in 2011.” Not exactly the clause anyone wants attached to their name.
Today Christian Dior effectively opened the couture season with a “team” effort from the atelier under Bill Gaytten, John Galliano’s long term design director. There are earlier shows, but it’s the first big one.
Fashion, I understand, is a seductive target. It’s hard to resist attacking such a big, glossy, seemingly superficial industry. But please, can we stop now? Yesterday, reading yet another giant treatise (this one by Tom Sykes in the Sunday Telegraph) blaming fashion for John Galliano’s descent into addiction, I wanted to rip my hair out. Come on, guys. Can we get a little perspective here?
And so John Galliano’s trial has started in Paris, and one question has been answered: would the designer appear in court in full-fledged character-bedecked glory – as, say, Napoleon, or an urchin, or the artist Rene Grau, as he did after many of his most famous shows for his former brand, Christian Dior – or would he play himself?
Mr Galliano is standing trial for allegedly making anti-Semitic remarks to customers in a Paris café this year.
This fashion week has been aflood with more rumours than India after the monsoon. First there was the stream of gossip about who will get the Dior job (one last suggestion: two names that haven’t been part of the conversation at all — Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez of Proenza Schouler. They’re young, have a jones for French couture shapes, but a way to make them jazzy, are fluent in the worlds of twitter and youtube, and have no hang-ups about working with businessmen. But that’s just me.) And now we have the “is Alexander McQueen designer Sarah Burton making the royal wedding dress?” tsunami.
There’s been a lot of talk, runway-side, about whether or not the Dior show can happen; a lot of protests vs publicity risk assessment. Here’s what I think: yes. They just need to be smart about how they do it.
if I were the Dior folks, for example, instead of emptiness to replace the usual John bow, I’d send the entire atelier – all the designers and assistants and seamstresses that actually make a collection happen – out onto the runway at the end of the show. Then the story becomes about preserving jobs, and supporting the workers that are left dealing with what Galliano wrought, and that runway full of blameless people becomes the picture that goes ’round the world, and Dior becomes the brand that cares for employees.