John Galliano Given Rare French Government Honor

Designer John Galliano may be hiding his face from the world after his spectacularly public fall from glory, but that doesn’t mean his work has been forgotten. This week, France’s Ministry of the Economy, Industry and Employment gave the John Galliano atelier the label of Enterprise du Patrimoine Vivant, or Living Heritage Company.

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Women’s Wear Daily reports that the 15-person atelier, which has been under the direction of Bill Gaytten since Galliano was fired in March, was awarded the honorary title for its rare know-how, noting that everyone who works there has “more than a decade of experience in patternmaking, cutting and other techniques.”

The Galliano atelier joins Chanel, Dior, Céline and Hermés, among others, on the list of fashion firms that have made the list — but some 900 other French companies with “rare know-how” in manufacturing categories like roofing, medical equipment, and the fine French art of making dolls are also in the club.

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And while we’re sure the atelier is deserving of the honor, we’re also sure it wouldn’t have gotten there without the direction of Galliano himself. Odious as his outburst last March may have been, there’s no denying the man was a visionary designer — and his knowledge of what his atelier could do pushed the limits of fashion. Still, you can’t have one branch of the French government sentencing a man for hate speech while another puts a golden laurel around his head, so we get why the Ministry would leave Galliano out of the award festivities. We just wish it didn’t have to be that way.

Take a look at Galliano working in his atelier in 2008, below.


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