Last month, Renzo Rosso of unconventional fashion brand conglomerate Only the Brave confirmed the appointment of John Galliano as creative director of Margiela Haute Couture. Galliano has kept a low profile since his dismissal from Dior and his eponymous label in 2011 following allegations of verbal abuse and the release of a video in which he makes anti-semitic proclamations. He appeared on Charlie Rose last year, and recently assisted as a “designer in residence” for one of the late Oscar de la Renta’s final collections in fall 2013.
OTB CEO Stefano Rosso told an audience at last week’s WWD Apparel and Retail CEO Summit that the group recognizes Galliano for his talent and does not judge him on the past. Galliano has the support of the Anti-Defamation League and of Jewish Parisian fashion industry figure, Armand Hadida, who said Galliano knew his mistakes and corrected them.
Vogue.com published Why Fashion Needs John Galliano, citing his “indisputable talent” and lamenting the “waste” of excluding him from fashion weeks. Maison Margiela Artisanal was granted Couture status in 2012. The Margiela lines have been designed for years by a mysterious in-house team; Galliano is the first known creative director at the brand since Martin Margiela left in 2008.
The two videos below feature fashion critics Alexander Fury and Tim Blanks, respectively.
Click the thumbnail below to watch Fury’s interview at Byronesque.com.
Fury is the fashion editor at The Independent. He recalls Galliano’s Fall 1994 show, one of the first in Paris. Galliano ran out of money and was rescued last-minute by Anna Wintour. Most looks in the collection were made from the same black silk fabric. “This show’s so important . . . it revived for the Nineties the use of bias cutting . . . it proved to be incredibly influential and was copied by everybody. It also triggered a trend amongst other Parisian designers to start showing their own collections away from the central Louvre show ground.” You can watch the full 1994 fashion show here.
Tim Blanks is Style.com’s Editor-at-Large. He names Galliano’s opulent Spring 1998 Dior Couture show at the Palais Garnier opera house as his “favorite fashion show ever. When you look up ‘fashion show’ in the dictionary, this is the show that should be there.”
The reverence for Galliano’s craft is undeniable and, coming from industry experts who have attended countless runway shows, has not been diminished by the controversy of the past few years.
Is creative genius sufficient reason to forgive Galliano’s bigotry? Will you anticipate his first Couture collection for Margiela? Let us know in the comments.