While I do not condone John Galliano’s very public anti-semitic outburst, I do feel that the incidence(s) lents a deep pathos to the sacking of the designer at the house of Dior. Was it simply “a total contradiction to the longstanding core values of Christian Dior,” as offered in a statement purportedly issued by the company’s CEO Sydney Toledano? Or was there more to it than what we’ve been led to belief? Are compassion and understanding not part of these “core values” too?
Since Friday, when it was declared that Mr Galliano was “suspended”, few people didn’t think it would not lead to the current dismissal. And it came swiftly too, just one day after Britain’s The Sun posted a video online showing an inebriated Mr Galliano declaring his love for Hitler, and going on to say to those video capturing him “people like you would be dead” and “your mothers, your forefathers… gassed”. Sure, these are serious attacks and must not be tolerated, but is it not rather curious that Galliano’s employer reacted more rapidly than the police, who did not initially file any charges?
Nobody is saying it, not on any of the media reports now trending, but could this be the perfect excuse to remove a designer who is supposedly not making enough commercial clothes, and, subsequently money, for the house in the past five years or so? (Were we not disappointed by the dull spring 2007 collection, which was allegedly a reaction to the company’s request for more salable suits?) Could this also be a case of deeply personal reaction? Mr Toledano, the only one issuing statements at Dior, is Jewish, and he has hinted at not being able to crack the nut that is John Galliano. In a 2007 story for The New York Times Magazine written by Cathy Horyn, he admitted that he has little personal contact with his star designer, and while he “understands his genius”, he still did not “know him personally”.
It is sad to see 15 years of highly imaginative work for one of the most storied French fashion houses gone with the late winter wind just because of careless speech after drinking too much. It is as lamentable as Galliano’s verbal rants are unforgivable, more so when you consider how the bar-side slurs could easily obliterate the offending man’s contribution, not just to Dior, but also the industry, and, indeed, the history of modern fashion.
Now, we wait for his unplanned swan song. In the mean time, there’s The Sun‘s video or, perhaps, Mel Brooks’s Springtime for Hitler.