John Galliano

John Galliano, left, is once again making clothes, but this time in a slightly different incarnation. Mr Galliano is going to design the costumes for Stephen Fry’s production of “The Importance of Being Ernest” – including the looks that Mr Fry himself will wear as Lady Bracknell in the production, which will involve some gender-bending, and open at the Theatre Royal in the autumn of 2014. So what do we think? Is this comeback, unlike the last three comeback attempts, going to work? My guess: possibly. I think it certainly has the best chance thus far. 

Yesterday LVMH announced it had signed up YBD JW Anderson to be the new designer of Loewe, and taken a minority stake in his brand. Anyone notice anything funky about this? No? It was expected? Well, kind of. But what shouldn’t have been expected, but seems to be increasingly the case, is that while they hired him to be the creative head of one of their not-quite-there-yet brands, they allowed him to keep his own line. And therein lies a change in strategy. 

That headline doesn’t say “take his time,” it says, “takes on time,” because that’s what Azzedine Alaia is doing: After years where he has gotten more and more passionate about what he sees as the single Great Problem of Fashion he’s decided to start a public debate on the subject. “Public” being the key word.

 

It’s been an interesting week in fashion reality TV: Grace Coddington solidified her position as one of the industry’s hottest stars by cooking with Elettra Wiedemann, aka Isabella Rossellini’s daughter, on Ms Wiedemann’s YouTube show, and making potatoes Dauphinoise and steak, food that “any Vogue person shouldn’t be making” and John Galliano finally gave his much-anticipated Charlie Rose interview. Together the two revealed a truth about fashion reality TV media execs might want to start noting.

 

John Galliano’s First Big Interview since his fall (OMG! OMG!) for alleged anti-Semitic remarks uttered while under the influence is in this month’s Vanity Fair. To be honest, for anyone who knows fashion even a little bit, it’s not that revealing (his statement that it was his first sober interview echoes Kate Moss’s long-ago revelation that she never walked the runway sober) – except for its inadvertent airing of two buried fashion world realities. 

So much for that public image rehab. After the excitement, pro and con, generated by Parson’s announcement that disgraced former Dior designer John Galliano would be teaching a masterclass, they have called the whole thing off. On reflection, I think this is too bad. Not because Mr Galliano necessarily belongs in the classroom, but because I think part of the material for the class – a “candid” discussion about his career — would have been valuable for students. We learn from failure often more than we learn from success, after all. Not to mention public implosion.

 

The official Parson’s statement about the rationale behind hiring John Galliano to teach a Masterclass, scheduled for sometime this spring, has landed! Here it is in full, followed by some student reactions.

 

He dipped a pinky back in the fashion world – now he’s adding big toe. After working behind-the-scenes at Oscar de la Renta’s atelier, John Galliano is coming out into the open: Simon Collins, Dean of Parsons, the New York fashion school, has confirmed that Mr Galliano, aka the disgraced former Dior designer, has been hired to teach an upcoming Masterclass at the school. It’s an interesting move, seems to me, on Parsons’ part – presumably part of its bid to become the pre-eminent NY Fashion school, over FIT and Pratt. Way to make news! But is a smart move?

 

Actually, that’s not true: Anna Wintour, aka editor of US Vogue, is, in fact, being promoted to “artistic director” of Condé Nast . It’s not Oz, and it’s not ambassador to the UK, but it’s definitely a step up.

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Leaving aside the weirdness of that title, which makes it sound like she is running a ballet company (and exists because CN already has an “editorial director” – Tom Wallace – though that role has become more operational than content-focused, apparently; fun for Mr W), this means, along with her current job at Vogue, she will essentially weigh in on the creative side of the stable of magazines, as well as their personnel.

Here’s how CN explained it in the announcement: “The establishment of an artistic director is a reflection of our commitment to preserve and champion all that exists ‘Only at Condé Nast’. In today’s business environment, it is critical to promote and foster our established creative authority. This is the ideal time to leverage Anna’s extraordinary vision and leadership to amplify and elevate the profile of Condé Nast US both domestically and abroad. Anna is an icon in the worlds of fashion, business and the arts, she has the foresight and wisdom to influence the major trends of our society and is respected globally as an accomplished businesswoman.”

However, in a New York Times report on Ms Wintour’s promotion, what interested me most was her statement that the job “isn’t about a machine or an iPhone or an iPad. It’s about people.” This is telling. After all, for the last few years Ms Wintour has been most famous, intra-fashion world, not for her reportedly chilly personality or even her anti-animal-rights-activists body guards that like to push everyone out of the way when she exits a fashion show, but for the games of chess she plays with brands and designers. She has probably done as much, if not more, to shape the fashion world as to shape her magazine, and as much as any of the big groups. We hear she is a wiz of a wiz, if ever a wiz there was. Because because because because, because of the wonderful things she does. 

British designer John Galliano

It’s been a big week for scandals; Europe’s horsemeat-in-the-beef-lasagna crisis, John Galliano’s appearance in New York in what some construed as faux-Hasidic garb, and CNN’s decision to run a piece comparing war photography and fashion photography. It’s hard to know where to start. Here are some thoughts – in no particular order.

1. Horsemeat: reading my colleague John Gapper’s column today about the supply chain issue being at the heart of the matter, it occurred to me that this bears a notable resemblance to the blood diamond scandals, which resulted in the Kimberley Process. Like the supermarkets that sold the adulterated meat, the jewellers that sold the sparkly end product had never really pushed themselves to know where it came from. When the truth was revealed, they were horrified and embarrassed. It had never occurred to them they needed to take ownership of the supply chain if they were responsible for the end product, and the experience changed luxury’s strategy completely.