Fashion & Accessories

By Laura Werling

So I’m sure there are a lot of you out there wondering what exactly went on to get John Galliano dismissed from his position as designer of Dior and what will become of the iconic designer. Well, I was curious as well, so I took the liberty of doing some research. I’ll start by giving you a bit of background info on Galliano and his career and influence in fashion.

John Galliano, whose full name is Juan Carlos Antonio Galliano-Guillen, was born in Gibraltar, off the coast of Spain, and later raised in England. In his youth, Galliano felt that he always had a hard time fitting in, saying, “I don’t think people here understood where I was coming from”.

Galliano started his life in fashion off with getting a degree in fashion design at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in London. He started his own line right out of school in London in 1984, and from there he searched for financial backers and collaborators to keep his company afloat. He had his first fashion show in 1989 in Paris Fashion Week, but by 1990, he was bankrupt and decided to relocate to Paris to acquire financial backing and a strong clientele base.

In 1993, Galliano was lucky enough to gain the support of American Vogue Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour, as well as Andre Leon Talley, which gave him the status and credibility he needed to become a huge force in the fashion world. With his new-found high-end connections and financial backing, Galliano was able to produce a collection under his own label in Paris that got noticed and praised by the high-end fashion circles. Models in his show included Kate Moss, Helena Christensen, Naomi Campbell, and Linda Evangelista, and high profile celebrities including Madonna were in attendance. It was his attention to detail in his designs and association with haute couture that really worked for him to re-launch his brand in to something significant and influential in the fashion industry.

In 1995, Galliano was hired as the designer for Givenchy, and after only a year and a half at this post, he was appointed the designer of Dior. Galliano’s first show for Dior corresponded with the 50th anniversary of the brand, in January of 1997. Then, after 14 years as designer of the Dior label, Galliano was suspended from his post in late February 2011. The suspension was due to Galliano’s arrest for an alleged anti-Semitic tirade in a Paris bar. On the same day of Galliano’s arrest, a video was leaked online, showing Galliano, visibly drunk, ranting to a group of women about his love for Hitler.

Jewish actress Natalie Portman, who had an endorsement contract with Dior for the brands’ Miss Dior Cherie fragrance, made a public statement describing her disappointment and “disgust” at Galliano’s anti-Semitic words.

“I am deeply shocked and disgusted by the video of John Galliano’s comments that surfaced today…I hope at the very least, these terrible comments remind us to reflect and act upon combating these still-existing prejudices that are the opposite of all that is beautiful,” said Portman.

On March first, 2011, it was announced that Dior had begun the process of Galliano’s dismissal from Dior. The next day, it was reported that Galliano would face trial for his public insults based on the origin, religious affiliation, race or ethnicity towards more three people. The trial is said to take place sometime between April and June of this year.

Current update: According to recent reports, John Galliano has not only been dismissed from Christian Dior, but from his self-titled brand John Galliano as well. The board of Christian Dior came to this decision, as the brand owns 91% of the John Galliano brand. Galliano’s design responsibilities are now being distributed throughout the in-house creative team, and there are currently no plans to sell the John Galliano brand.

As shocking as the situation is, it seems to be more disappointing and sad than anything else. Hopefully this clears up any curiosities you may have had about the incident, and here’s hoping the next designer for Dior is a change for the better.

Originally published May 2011
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