Two years ago, acclaimed fashion designer John Galliano saw his world crumble. The designer was dismissed from his roles as the head designer of Christian Dior, as well as his own eponymous label, after a series of alcohol fueled, anti-sematic rants in a Paris café.
Not only did his employers turn against him, but retailers refused to carry his merchandise, and celebrities who previously coveted his clothing spoke of him with disdain. He also lost his “Chevalier of the Legion of Honor”, a highly prestigious title in France.
The designer has been off the radar for last two years, presumably working on his sobriety.
This week, in a controversial move, the disgraced designer begins a three week, “designer in residency” with Oscar de la Renta.
Mr. de la Renta is quoted as saying, “ John has worked hard on his recovery, and I am happy to give him the opportunity to reimmerse himself in the world of fashion and reacclimate in an environment where he has been so creative.”
Galliano has also issued a statement stating. “ I am an alcoholic. I have been in recovery for the last 2 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 hurt.”
People make mistakes, and certainly Mr. Galliano made his share of them. His behavior was beyond contempt. Yet, he is an immense talent, who deserves a chance to redeem his poor behavior and find his way in the world again.
Forgiveness is a powerful thing, and Mr. de la Renta is making a grand and generous gesture to a peer and competitor.
The Anti-Defamation League also approves of Mr. de la Renta’s extraordinary move. The League’s national director told WWD,“ We believe that individuals can change their hearts and minds as long as they demonstrate true contrition. Mr. Galliano has worked arduously in changing his worldview and dedicated a significant amount of time to researching, reading and learning about the evils of anti-Semitism and bigotry. Along his journey to recovery, he met with us on numerous occasions. He has accepted full responsibility for his previous remarks, and understands that hurtful comments have no place in our society.”
We applaud Oscar de la Renta for opening his heart and his studio to a fellow designer. Mr. de la Renta’s actions speak louder than the hurtful words Mr. Galliano spoke to trigger his epic fall from grace. We hope that he is recovered and can use this incredible opportunity to rebuild his life, and his career. Talent such as his should not be wasted.
We wish them both the best.