John Galliano makes a comeback at Oscar de la Renta
Remember the classic Bible proverb “You reap what you sow,” or in modern days the phrase, “What goes around comes around?” Well, British fashion designer John Galliano, who headed French brands Givenchy and Christian Dior, sure does and all too well.
After making anti-Semitic remarks to customers while drunk in a Paris café two years ago which cost Galliano his role as creative director at Dior, a guilty verdict of giving public insults on account of race, and €6,000 worth of fines, the first British designer to head a French haute couture house is returning to the world he was cast out of – hopefully, as a sober man.
While everyone deserves a second chance, Galliano’s disgrace might be forgiven by some, but will not be forgotten by all.
He released this statement to Women’s Wear Daily: “I am an alcoholic; I have been in recovery for the past two years. Several years prior to my sobriety, I descended into the madness of the disease. I said and did things which hurt others, especially members of the Jewish community. I have expressed my sorrow privately and publicly for the pain which I caused, and I continue to do so. I remain committed to making amends to those I have hurt.”
Whether his substance abuse problem was to blame, or his liking for theatrics as some might claim, many people’s opinions differed on the matter of Galliano’s dismissal. While some rebuked him – such as Dior and President François Hollande who revoked Galliano’s French Legion of Honour medal – others stood by his side. Vogue editor and personal friend Anna Wintour aided Galliano’s return, while model Kate Moss commissioned him to make her wedding dress during his time away.
Although Galliano’s ethics can be called into question, it is safe to say his talents cannot. His reputation and career, which once only consisted of accomplishments, mustn’t be overlooked. He has, after all, been named British Designer of the Year four times, awarded the Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2001 and Royal Designer for Industry in 2002, and was once considered one of “the most influential gay people in Britain” to British national morning newspaper, The Independent.
In his comeback, Galliano joins the side of one of the world’s leading fashion designers, Oscar de la Renta, in a temporary residency.
“He has worked long and hard on his recovery and I am happy to give him the opportunity to re-immerse himself in the world of fashion and re-acclimate in an environment where he has been so creative,” de la Renta said.
What the fashion establishment holds for Galliano is unknown. However, if his return is any indicator, it seems in this case that talent may in fact triumph. If the US-based Anti-Defamation League and its national director, Abraham Foxman, wish him success, then surely the rest of the world can too. Much like the steps needed for recovery, Galliano’s re-emergence into the industry can only be taken one day at a time.