A quick recap: two years ago, Galliano was arrested and suspended for allegedly making anti-Semitic remarks (“I love Hitler!”) in Paris. He was ultimately found guilty and fined a little less than $25,000. Public opinion has largely been against Galliano ever working in fashion again, but the industry itself was split. Bigwigs like Anna Wintour, Grace Coddington, and Jean Paul Gaultier have been on Team Galliano, while others like LVMH’s Antoine Arnault and Vogue Italia‘s Franca Sozzani were less enthusiastic about the designer’s return.
De la Renta’s decision to invite Galliano to his studio, which WWD reports may have actually been Wintour’s idea, is by far the biggest gesture in support of the disgraced designer. He explains to WWD:
“John and I have known each other for many years and I am a great admirer of his talent. He has worked long and hard on his recovery and I am happy to give him the opportunity to reimmerse himself in the world of fashion and reacclimate in an environment where he has been so creative. I think John is doing all the right things. Everyone in life deserves a second chance, especially someone as talented as John. I think that life is about forgiving and helping people.…I think John is doing all the right things.”
So what will Galliano do at the studio then? De la Renta didn’t offer specific details, but did say that it (whatever that may be) will give Galliano a chance to learn “how to reimmerse himself in the world of fashion.” He also denied that he was retiring and that Galliano was a replacement, which makes perfect sense considering both designers’ fairly divergent aesthetics. Galliano spoke with WWD about his recovery and future:
“I am an alcoholic. I have been in recovery for the past two years. Several years prior to my sobriety, I descended into the madness of the disease. I said and did things which hurt others, especially members of the Jewish community. I have expressed my sorrow privately and publicly for the pain which I caused, and I continue to do so. I remain committed to making amends to those I have hurt. I am grateful to Oscar beyond words for inviting me to spend time with him in the familiar surroundings of a design studio. His support and faith in me is humbling.”
We may not be ready for Galliano’s return, but we can’t say that we’re not slightly excited to see his face in the crowd during New York Fashion Week. Do you think he deserves a second chance?