Today: Jun 16, 2024

Southern Style: Public figure goes too far in fashion world

photo courtesy
John Galliano


It took all of six minutes for the final verdict of guilty to echo from the jury box. Yet after a six-month trial, former ex-Dior designer and possible anti-Semite John Galliano has more repercussions to worry about than a guilty verdict and a measly fine. It’s hard not to be up-to-date in fashion today without reading about the ordeal. In February, Galliano was arrested and charged for “public insults toward persons on the basis of their religion or origin” at a well-known hip Parisian bar La Perle. 

As Galliano professed his love for Hitler and accosted a woman for her lack of fashion sense, another bystander conveniently videotaped the entire ordeal, made it viral, and the media frenzy soon followed. The majority of the general public expressed its anger and disgust while some of Galliano’s close friends stood up for their fellow colleague. While I’m not arguing Galliano’s degree of talent or his devotion to being a fashion visionary, this entire anti-Semitic event is not just about a slur of hateful words. With only a handful of comments, he successfully managed to reaffirm the subjectively blanketed opinion many opponents of fashion have been arguing for decades—that those in the fashion community are close-minded morons who view the world with thick superficial lenses. Though I can’t speak for every fashion lover, I’m sure I’m not the only one who was appalled by Galliano’s remarks. Even in an industry that claims its diversity—the whole model race, weight, age and issues aside—there are still those self-absorbed idiots who give fashion a bad name. Galliano forgot that he is a public figure, and with that title comes an expected degree of professionalism and poise. 

Even though Galliano’s lawyer claimed the designer has been coping with a rampant alcohol and Valium addiction, it’s no excuse to be spewing racial epithets at complete strangers when you’re one of the world’s most prominent fashion designers. I don’t care how much booze or how many pills he claimed to be on; being inebriated doesn’t make it OK for you to be a blatant racist or sheriff of the fashion police; Ms. Joan Rivers already has that title. Galliano wasn’t just misrepresenting himself, but the Dior brand. In my opinion, Dior had every right to fire him. In this situation, the possible negative backlash the company would have faced outweighed his talent. His blatant disregard for any degree of personal social composition not only cost him his reputation and many admirers, but also money in business negotiations and contracts for Dior. 

But as New York Fashion Week begins, the show must go on and the tents are abuzz with rumors of who will be Galliano’s replacement at Dior—my fingers are crossed for Marc Jacobs—and whether the designer will be able to recover. While I think this will blow over with time, I’m sure many, including myself, will forever have a sour taste in their mouths whenever Galliano’s name comes up in conversation. I can’t help but wonder whether Galliano was sincere when he apologized in open court for his remarks or if he’s trying to recover what little respect he still has. 

Now John, if you want to be a self-absorbed narrow-minded bigot, unfortunately that’s your right and no degree of ranting, whether it be from me or more prominent individuals in the fashion community, is going to change that. Though I may appreciate your talent for what it is, it doesn’t mean I have to like you as a person. Even someone who has the ability to create beautiful clothing can be an ass or in this case a racist S.O.B. Hopefully the large degree of negative press, losing your job, and compromising your reputation will make you think twice before you open up that cesspool you call a mouth.

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