John Galliano On Charlie Rose
It’s hard to forget the now famous rant outside a Parisian cafe that lead to John Galliano’s fall from grace. The anti-Semitic comments in 2011 cost him his position as the creative director at Christian Dior, his own namesake line and so much more. Now for the first time since issuing a post-incident apology, John Galliano is talking about it.
Before we get into it, I have to say, on a personal note that I’ve long held Galliano in the highest regard. He is – despite the unfortunate circumstances surrounding his personal issues – a genius, a gem in fashion and one of the top designers of our time – period.
I don’t how often I’ve gotten into a heated debate with my fashion friends taking this stance, but I’m a believer in second chances and refuse to write someone so talented off because they’ve struggled with substance abuse and screwed up once.
Much to my delight, Galliano has taken huge strides to redeem himself in the eyes of the public, (something he didn’t have to do,) he could have choose to remain silent but is instead actively seeking to better himself, awesome!
In the interview with Vanity Fair contributing editor Ingrid Sischy, Galliano says, as he did in court, that he has no memory of the incident. “I was going to end up in a mental asylum or six feet under,” he said of his pre-scandal years of drinking and doing drugs.
He also talks about his difficult childhood and being raised in a rough area of London: “It’s funny — when this all first happened I was like, I can’t be a racist. I can’t be. I grew up in South London, in a melting pot. But I did hear awful things. I remember a lot of the insults that were thrown backward and forward.” Including right his way: “If I didn’t already sense that I was different, I certainly was reminded, whether by my parents or by the other school kids,” says Galliano. “Not just reminded. Told…. I was made to believe it wasn’t right. If I went a little bit too off — slap! It was Dad’s upbringing and it was Victorian, and that’s the way he was.”
He goes on to say that he never came out to his father, who has since passed away: “I was never honest. My father died, and I had never said to him, ‘I’m gay.’ I knew what I was, but I had to pretend not to be that to avoid the beatings.”
And now only a few days ago, a very sober Galliano faced a grilling by US talk show host Charlie Rose. Watch it below:
Here’s a few poignant excerpts:
“You recognize that what you said was hateful, vile, anti-Semitic?” asks Rose, a well-known television interviewer in the US. “I do. I apologize. And I am trying to make amends in the best way that I can,” replies Galliano, before going on to say that he takes full responsibility for his addictions and the resulting behavior that they caused.
“The drinking did creep up on me very slowly. It started cyclically. After each collection, after each creative high, there’d be this crash. And then were these — I used the drink to stop the voices,” he goes on to say that at times he “was acting like God.”
Charlie Rose also touches on the subject of Alexander McQueen, the other great designer of our time, taken from the world by his own hand in 2010, she asks whether he understood McQueen’s decision to take his own life, something I found kind of shocking. He answered:
“That loneliness, that pain, that — I mean, as addicts, we’re in such perfection. We’re setting that bar impossibly high,” replies Galliano. “We don’t understand why we’re doing it. And people say ‘wow, how are you going to top that?’ And we’re like, yeah, we’re going to. Don’t worry. That’s what, you know, makes us wake up in the morning. I was very sad.”
A man on the road to redemption, it’s quite the inspiring thing. I thinks he’s really remarkable, he achieved the absolute pinnacle of his field, was a celebrated artist, lost it all and has fought to be a better person, conquer his demons and rise above. That takes a lot of courage and balls.
Cheers Mr Galliano, you remain, more than ever a fashion hero.