Galliano is a deeply talented man, and his early shows helped set fashion on a course it has followed for years, turning the business into a celebrity cult. But his career, and his life, were built on twin pillars of excess and exhibitionism. He was a slave to addiction; those addictions rotated through the years: drugs, sex, alcohol, exercise, and finally, and most damagingly, his own public image. But who could be shocked at his behavior? Who would have expected any other end? (If it is the end: the fashion world has a remarkable ability to shrug off the odd deeply flawed human being, as long as he or she can cut a dress like Galliano can or wear one like Kate Moss, who, despite behavior that sets a disastrous example for millions of girls, including issues with drugs, is forgiven because, well, she is really very pretty.)
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.”
I don’t know if I’d put Galliano’s crunk “I love Hitler” declaration in the same category as Charlie Sheen or Kate Moss’s drug habit. Drugs work on a molecular level as well as psychological. There isn’t a physical dependence on racism and bigotry unless you’re a pre-Civil Rights idle rich or thereabouts.
I’m not even sure if Galliano is truly a racist/bigot because he was so fucking shitfaced. I’ve said some crazy-ass stuff blotto. Sometimes, it brings out your true self; other times a completely different personality emerges. I’d only know for sure if we had a sober discussion and I sensed bigoted/racist views. I wish the world would judge this incident more in context: if we all had to stand behind every dumb shit we said or did when severely intoxicated, we wouldn’t last long.
The most interesting part of this Galliano incident for me is that he was sitting at a cafe getting shitfaced alone. Did he not have a friend who’d get drunk with him? Was that his alone time? It’s petty, but reasons for going out alone and getting blotto would illuminate someone’s character.
I’m sure this is a strange but welcomed blessing for Christian Dior, who dispatched Galliano without much hesitation at all. I’d opine that Galliano has been in a creative rut the past few years (I think the last Dior show I liked remotely was Spring 2007 Couture), and his work was just never as moving as the late Alexander McQueen’s. Galliano is more interested in his own outward eccentricity as an astronaut, a sailor, whatever. McQueen internalized so much and spewed everything out in magnificent collections—if you doubt fashion can have an emotional core like art, music, or film, look at McQueen’s stuff. Galliano is technically great and can come up with directional ideas, but ultimately I never saw the depth or felt moved by his clothes. Yes, moved! By clothes! Some designers can be that good.
As for the future of Dior, they might try to lock in Alber Elbaz before he gets any ideas of flying the LVMH coop (not sure about his contract situation at Lanvin?). I’d love to see Elbaz at any label, but I’d rather see him take over Chanel after Lagerfeld than Dior. If I could choose someone for Dior, I’d go with Christophe Decarnin at Balmain. Supposedly, bringing him on doubled the sales at Balmain. He has that rock-n-roll flair that’ll continue to spin the Galliano thread in a different direction.