After existing in relative obscurity for the past few years,
controversial fashion designer John Galliano
has been named recently as the new creative director of
Belgian label Maison Martin Margiela.
(image from the guardian.com):
The ‘new face’ of John Galliano as
the new face of Maison Martin Margiela
(photo by fashion photographer Patrick Demarchelier)
In 2011, the Gibraltar born, Central Saint Martins educated,
Paris based designer was summarily dismissed
from his position as creative director of fashion house Christian Dior
for vicious anti-Semitic and racist remarks,
made in a Parisian cafe and directed towards fellow diners.
The incident was video-taped and presented in a Parisian court,
where the designer was charged and later received a suspended sentence.
At the time, Mr. Galliano had been with Dior for 15 years.
The LVHM group which owns the Dior brand cited a
“zero-tolerance policy” on acts/language of racism and anti-Semitism.
The company quickly moved to sever
its relationship with the disgraced designer.
With a Court issued suspended sentence
and a fashion industry issued suspended sentence,
it seemed unlikely that Galliano creations would be seen
any time soon on a Parisian runway.
Yet, but a mere three years hence and Renzo Rosso, president of
Only the Brave Group, which owns fashion labels Maison Martin Margiela,
Marni, Viktor & Rolf as well as jeans brand Diesel,
has decided to offer Galliano a reprieve by appointing him
creative director of the innovative label Maison Martin Margiela (MMM).
MMM has been without a designated head since
the retirement in 2009 of its founder Martin Margiela.
While Galliano was all flash and flamboyance:
never camera shy, but camera seeker;
Margiela was reserved and reticient:
rarely seen and rarely interviewed.
(image from rt.com):
The consummate showman
It would seem that Mr. Russo, who is a great admirer of Galliano’s work, is
a staunch believer in second chances. In his announcement of Galliano
as the new creative head of MMM,
Russo is enthused with abundant praise, stating:
“John Galliano is one of the greatest, undisputed talents of all time; (a) unique, exceptional courtier for a Maison 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.” (forbeslife.com).
Mr. Russo sees Galliano as the future of Maison Martin Margiela and of fashion,
“This appointment marks a new era in the history of the Maison.”
He went on to describe Galliano as “a visionary and non-conformist”. (dailmail.com)
No one can neither doubt nor fault the creative genius of Mr. Galliano’s collective
oeuvre. While at Christian Dior, his runway shows were hotly anticipated and he
rarely, if ever disappointed.
However, his comments in 2011 more than disappointed.
The words were not those of a “visionary or non-conformist”,
but those of a reactionary.
Mr. Galliano has since undergone treatment for substance abuse concerns.
Were his words uttered while under the influence?
Or something stemming from a darker place?
Does one now separate the measure of the man from the measure of his talent?
It’s been done before: time after time after time.
(images from fashionising)
by John Galliano
Haute Couture, PFW s/s 2010
(Before the fall: an equestrian themed collection)
Mr. Galliano will present his first collection for Maision Martin Margiela
in January 2015 during Paris Haute Couture Week.
(Sources: Forbes Life, The Guardian, The Daily Mail)