John Galliano: A Deserved Return?

In 1995, Galliano got his first big break when he was appointed the head designer of Givenchy. He was the first British designer to head a French couture house.  Two years later he moved to Christian Dior for fifteen years. Season after season John Galliano produced amazing collections, and by 1997, he had won British Designer of the Year four times. His combination of creative brilliance and his detailed craftsmanship generated accolades in a very short time.

John Galliano for Dior Haute Couture A/W 2010 (via Zimbio)
John Galliano for Dior Haute Couture A/W 2010 (via Zimbio)

However, in February 2011, his name was known in and outside of the fashion world for all the wrong reasons. British tabloid The Sun posted a video of Galliano making anti-Semitic remarks to a group of Italian tourists in a Parisian bar. The video went viral and Dior suspended Galliano pending further investigation. In March 2011, Dior officially announced the permanent dismissal of Galliano.   Since then, John Galliano has been checked into rehab, actively tried to atone his grave mistakes, declared a life of sobriety, and  recently announced the new creative director of Maison Martin Margiela.

A man who had it all, who was at the top of his game and respected by the entirety of the fashion industry, lost his reputation as a creative genius due to his offensive racial slurs caught on film. Now three years later, is the world ready to forgive and move on?

Everybody makes mistakes. Alcoholism and addiction are no excuse for Galliano’s atrocious behavior in the past. However, to an extent, one cannot even begin to reason why alcoholics and addicts say what they do when they are under the influence of drugs. Regardless, Galliano has actively sought out atonement and help to reform his indiscretions, taking full responsibility for the despicable slurs he uttered. To do this, his talent remains unmatched. It is time for a comeback.

Margiela may have disappeared completely if not for its redefinition by Renzo Rosso, president of the OTB group who controls Margiela. Now, with the appointment of a star designer, it could be said that Rosso desires the house to be the center of media attention. Regardless of backlash. After all, you are nobody until you are talked about.

Rosso recently stated in Women’s Wear Daily “John Galliano is one of the greatest, undisputed talents of all time — a unique, exceptional courtier for a mason that always challenged and innovated the world of fashion. I look forward to his return to create that fashion dream that only he can create.”

Galliano’s knack for theatrical flair and Margiela’s trademark deconstructionism is sure to be a winning combination, only to be succeeded in the hands of a genius such as Galliano. With that said, all the fashion world can do is have an open mind and eagerly await his Paris Haute Couture show in the Spring. It will surely be incredible.


Gabriella Bower is a staff writer. Email her at 


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