Photo by Annie Leibovitz for Vanity Fair
In 2010, shamed designer John Galliano launched his own downward spiral with an anti-semitic rant that was caught on tape. In 2011 he was fired from Dior, and then his own eponymous label, for those, and other unseemly behaviors. Over the years, the fashion world has sat back, both rubbing our palms together to watch this disaster unravel, and cautiously awaiting his next move — will he come back? Will he ever be able to come back from this?
We thought we had our answer when Parsons hired Galliano to teach a master class this spring, but a student petition kept that from happening. There was another half-start when Kate Moss asked him to design her wedding dress. But no one had heard from the man himself, publicly, since so many embarassments he had vehemently denied. Today, a teaser of his silence-breaking interview in Vanity Fair has been released, and it seems he’s poised for a comeback — if he can stomach the heaps of humble pie he’ll have to eat first.
In the profile, VF contributing editor Ingrid Sischy speaks with Galliano’s friends and colleagues, including Kate Moss, Oscar de la Renta, Anna Wintour, and Naomi Campbell; as well as members of the Jewish community, including Rabbi Barry Marcus, of London’s Central Synagogue, and Abe Foxman, head of the Anti-Defamation League. She shares his stories of a troubled childhood, and a couple of failed industry interventions. (Bernard Arnault, chairman and C.E.O. of LVMH told Galliano he was going to die if he didn’t get help. In response, Galliano tore off his shirt and asked, “Does this look like the body of an alcoholic?”)
While the full interview won’t be available until the magazine’s July issue hits newsstands, it’s already clear that Galliano was going through a pretty rough time when his unraveling began, and equally clear that he may never take full responsibility for those things he said. Here are the most sobering quotes in the sneak preview of his first-ever sober interview:
On his drug- and alcohol-fueled Fashion Week rebounds:
“I would use it to crash after the collections. I’d take a couple of days to get over it, like everyone. But with more collections, the crash happened more often, and then I was a slave to it. Then the pills kicked in because I couldn’t sleep. Then the other pills kicked in because I couldn’t stop shaking. I would also have these huge bottles of liquor that people got for me. Towards the end, it was whatever I could get my hands on.”
“I did manage to stop the voices. I had all these voices in my head, asking so many questions, but I never for one second would admit I was an alcoholic. I thought I could control it.”
On realizing he had a problem:
“Not having washed, I’d be covered in sores and humiliated.”
“I would be backstage and there would be a queue of five people to help me. One person would have a cigarette for me. The next person would have the lighter. I did not know how to use the A.T.M.”
On “finding out” about those things he said:
“When everyone came over to tell me that I had done these terrible things, I was walking round and round and round not really knowing what had gone down. My assistant told me about the video. When I saw it, I threw up. The feeling was like I was about to take a step out onto the street and a bus or truck whooshed past me and the blood was drained from my legs. I was paralyzed from the fear.”
On a dash of redemption:
“Creating Kate’s wedding dress saved me personally because it was my creative rehab. She dared me to be me again.”
While many in the fashion industry have been ready for Galliano’s return, public opinion has been swayed mostly by media’s coverage of his scandalous few years. If he manages to come off remorseful, self-aware, and, best of all, better, we think there could still be a bright career ahead of the shock-jock designer. Needless to say, we’ll see you at the newsstand.
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