Last Wednesday fashion designer John Galliano had his first court appearance in Paris stemming from his indictment in mid-March of this year for spouting off racial slurs. He was caught on two separate occasions saying unsettling remarks, once in February of this year by a couple at a bar and the other by a woman late last December at the same bar in Paris, who recorded the incident. Shortly after his second outburst, the video from the first emerged, giving Dior cause to announce that they had suspended Galliano following his arrest over the anti-Semitic tirade. This all occurred just before Paris Fashion Week for Autumn/Winter 2011/2012.
So how did John Galliano get to this point you wonder?
Galliano was born to simple means in London where he faced discrimination for being gay. He went to Central Saint Martin’s art college and set up a studio after graduation. After a lot of partying and not being smart with his limited funds, he ended up on the streets of Paris waiting for his break. He received just that in 1993 from the editor of American Vogue, Anna Wintour, who propelled him into stardom over night. His runway looks are known to be outrageous and ostentatious, and celebrities flock to his designs for many red carpet appearances. He worked for Givenchy and has his own eponymous clothing line, but is best known for his work with fashion mega-house Dior where he’s been since 1996. According to The Telegraph, he's earned the company more than 600 million euros a year in sales.
Galliano claims that the stress and severe pressure of the fashion world caused him to go into a downward spiral. He told the court that "after every creative high, I would crash, and the alcohol helped me escape." He said he also began to pop an ever-rising number of sleeping pills and barbiturates -- so many that he completely lost track of his consumption. "I only just discovered in rehab what a lethal mix it was," said Galliano, who underwent a two-month-long treatment in Arizona after the incident. Asked by Business Week whether he'd managed to break the addictions, the designer responded, "Yes, I'm still in recovery but I'm feeling much better."
Looks from his Dior 2010 collection
Galliano has stuck by the claim that he does not remember saying anything racial in nature on both occasions by admitting to being addicted to alcohol and Valium. He is faced with charges of “public insults based on origin, religious affiliation, race or ethnicity” which under French Government, he could receive up to six months in jail and up to $32,175 in fines. The prosecution is asking he just pay a fine of no less than $14,400 without jail time. Both parties that claimed to be the victim's of Galliano's verbal attack are sticking to their stories. In court, he had to face the racist rant captured on video:
"In the video, I see someone who needs help, who's vulnerable," Galliano said in a statement. "It's the shell of John Galliano. I see someone who's been pushed to the edge."
A verdict has to be reached by September 8th of this year.
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