According to some of the world’s most prominent writers, John Galliano‘s fall from grace was going to happen sooner or later, anti-Semitic rant or no. And if they’re to be believed, it had everything to do with the way he was coddled and surrounded by luxury by the people at his former employer, Dior.
In a post on the The New Yorker‘s website, Michael Pressler wrote that the confluence of money and indulgent attention Galliano received over the course of his career at Dior didn’t only create the perfect circumstances for him to have some kind of meltdown, it made that meltdown inevitable. In some way, Pressler writes, Galliano was separated from the realm of reasonably accepted human behavior, and those around him started taking his various addictions (to drugs, or to sex, or to exercise) as part of his artistic personality.
The recipe is getting old: take a savant, somebody who plays golf better than any other human, or can cut on the bias, or throws a lot of touchdown passes, and surround him with sycophants and barrels full of money. Praise everything he says or does no matter how solipsistic or selfish. And what do you get? Exactly what the adoring public deserves. Even Galliano’s drug abuse was seen by many of the most prominent people in fashion as an adorable foible, like wearing a monocle or writing with a fountain pen. “Oh, that’s just John,” one of France’s better known fashion people once told me. “Obsessive indulgence is his thing.”
And Galliano was indulged perhaps more than any other working designer of his generation. Cathy Horyn of The New York Times wrote yesterday that his cavalier distrust of the mainstream wasn’t only applied to the way he cut his dresses.
But increasingly one had the feeling that Mr. Galliano was indulged in ways that went beyond the normal — the driver, the bodyguard, the research trips, the vacations, the teams of assistants — and might have caused even the steadiest soul to lose touch with reality. Mr. Toledano is known to have repeatedly encouraged him to seek professional help for some issues (presumably, drinking), but Mr. Galliano’s replies were indirect. Or he said he would go to a spa.
While Galliano should (and did) accept personal responsibility for his actions, we can see how the people around him might have contributed to the idea that he could get away with anything. This time he didn’t. And it’s going to take more than a trip to a spa to help him get out of the situation most people say he created for himself.