Galliano is back thanks to Oscar de la Renta
The fashion industry has been atwitter over the weekend with a big revelation: John Galliano (he of revered creative genius, anti-Jewish sentiments, and face-swap-Disney-villain appearance) is making a comeback.
Oscar de la Renta, a longtime friend of his, has announced he will host the disgraced designer in his New York design studio for the next three weeks, WWD reported – a gesture welcoming him back into the fold after two years away from the industry and the public eye.
In early 2011, off his face at a Paris café, Galliano was caught on camera hurling anti-Semitic remarks at a group of women. Those comments cost him his jobs at Dior and at his own eponymous label, the respect of the fashion industry and the world, and ultimately, his dignity.
Yet it appears esteem for his creative flair has remained, and those who believed his career was over may soon be proved wrong.
“John and I have known each other for many years and I am a great admirer of his talent,” de la Renta said. "He has worked long and hard on his recovery and I am happy to give him the opportunity to re-immerse himself in the world of fashion and reacclimatise in an environment where he has been so creative."
Galliano has at least been emphatic in expressing his gratitude and remorse. "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,” the designer told WDD.
“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."
Even the Anti-Defamation League, which was among his loudest critics at the time of the remarks, has forgiven him. In a statement of support, the group's national director, Abraham H. Foxman, said, "We believe that individuals can change their hearts and minds as long as they demonstrate true contrition.
“Mr Galliano has worked arduously in changing his world view and dedicated a significant amount of time to researching, reading and learning about the evils of anti-Semitism and bigotry. Along his journey to recovery he met with us on numerous occasions. He has accepted full responsibility for his previous remarks and understands that hurtful comments have no place in our society."
Galliano has made few public appearances during his rehab in the last two years, one notable exception being Kate Moss’s wedding – he designed her dress – as well as a few sightings in Paris and New York, lunching with the likes of Anna Wintour, a good friend of de la Renta, and Grace Coddington.
De la Renta has rejected speculation that he is preparing Galliano to take over his job when he retires. It’s not yet clear what he and de la Renta plan to get up to in the studio but it will no doubt be well received, judging by the reactions of top figures including the editor of Vogue, Alexandra Shulman, who is reportedly “delighted” by his return: "Oscar de la Renta is the king of uptown style and John Galliano the prince of romantic glamour, so it should be a magical match.”