For years, we marvelled over John Galliano as a whole, his personal demeanour, his designs for Dior and most importantly, his understanding of women. Galliano stood out as a god among men, a rare commodity, a man who could finally make women feel they wanted to feel. But one meltdown earlier in the year created a stir like no other and Galliano was struck off the list. So we have to ask ourselves the fateful question: is this the end of Dior’s era?
Named by the Times as ‘the most influential fashion designer of his generation’, Galliano created a fashion revolt with his 1984 collection ‘Les Incroyables’ based on the French Revolution and every further collection after that did not disappoint. Every season he designs for, he travels the globe searching for ideas and muses. He pulls inspiration from fantasy, the future, the past, he creates a fairytale and romance and brings it to life on the runway.
In 1995, he was named creative director of Givenchy but quickly moved to Dior in 1996. Galliano now produces 17 collections a year including ready-to-wear Dior and Galliano and haute couture Dior. In 2009, he celebrated 25 years of his own line. So why is his reign, so to speak, so definitely over?
In a Parisian cafe in February of this year, a drunken Galliano was recorded ranting at a group of people and uttering racial and anti-Semetic slurs, including ‘I love Hitler’. The video went viral and sent shockwaves through the start of Paris Fashion Week. Making anti-semetic remarks in France can earn you up to six months in prison in France and Galliano was quickly arrested and sacked from the design house immediately.
Many people included Dior spokesperson Natalie Portman and Dior CEO Sidney Toledano expressed outrage at the comments and Portman boycotted wearing his designs at this year’s Oscars as well as resigning as Miss Dior.
The legendary Sunday Times spokesperson Colin McDowell said about the designer, “Didn’t anyone care enough for the future of Dior, and the unique position of couture, that his genius had helped to create, to try to help him out? Why was Galliano, vulnerable and drunk, possibly upset by some intractable design problem, allowed to wander Paris, alone, done up in a way that would immediately draw attention?”
He also queried the part the death of Galliano’s friend Steven Robinson had to play in the incident and the certain downfall of the designer. Members of his team put it down to severe pressure, a lot of which he places on himself, “He was put under impossible pressure, not only by the demands made by Dior, but also what he demanded of himself. John is a method designer, like a method actor. He doesn’t just design a collection – he becomes the collection. He role-plays every part of it.”
John Galliano is to attend his trial tomorrow in front of three judges who will decide his fate.