Crime of fashion? Galliano arrested over 'anti-Semitism'

For an industry as paranoid about bad publicity as fashion, the events of Thursday evening are a nightmare come true.

With Paris Fashion Week looming, one of couture's most brilliant exponents finds himself suspended from Christian Dior and facing criminal charges after an allegedly drunken confrontation with a couple in the ritzy Marais district of the French capital.

A man used to making the headlines on the catwalk this time made them at a cafe where he was arrested on suspicion of assault and making anti-Semitic remarks.

Police said that Galliano, the French couture house's 50-year-old chief designer, had drunk the equivalent of up to two bottles of wine when he was held shortly after 9pm on Thursday night.

A police source said: "We managed to break up the disturbance. The man involved was briefly arrested and then released pending charges for assault.

"Witnesses said he swore heavily, using anti-Jewish insults, before attacking a couple. Both have provided witness statements, as have a number of people and staff at the bar."

A Paris police spokesman said that Galliano was facing criminal charges and would appear in court on a date to be fixed. Galliano denies the anti-Semitic remarks – a crime which, in France, is punishable by up to six months in prison.

The Marais has historic associations with Paris's Jewish community and was the scene of Nazi deportation round-ups. Its cobbled streets are now home to fashion houses, luxury boutiques and high-end restaurants. France's Europe 1 radio quoted the couple allegedly insulted as saying that Galliano made "derogatory comments about them with reference to Jews and Asians".

But Stephane Zerbib, Galliano's lawyer, said that the designer "formally denies the accusations of anti-Semitism made against him". Galliano was "not at all in this state of mind (and) will explain later," Zerbib said, adding that "legal action will be taken against those making such accusations".

The lawyer said: "There was an altercation, Mr Galliano was verbally attacked, but at no point did he make any such insults, and we have witness testimony that backs this up."

Dior, part of billionaire Bernard Arnault's LVMH luxury empire, took swift action to limit the damage.

Sidney Toledano, Dior's chief executive, said in a statement: "Dior affirms with the utmost conviction its policy of zero tolerance towards any anti-Semitic or racist words or behaviour. Pending the results of the inquiry, Christian Dior has suspended John Galliano from his responsibilities."

Friends of the Gibraltar-born Galliano, who was reported to have agreed to design Kate Moss's wedding dress, struggled to account for the turn of events. A Parisian colleague said: "Women love John because he has a very feminine side. Reports of this assault are so out of character. I've never seen him being violent towards anyone."

Police, who escorted Galliano to his home after the incident, suggested the outburst was prompted by "stress" over his next major Dior show, the Autumn/Winter 2011 Collection.

It is unclear whether Galliano, who produces six couture and ready-to-wear collections a year, will unveil his eponymous label's collection at an invitation-only event two days later.

The rise of a couture superstar

By Harriet Walker

John Galliano, 50, was born in Gibraltar to a Gibraltan father and Spanish mother, before moving to Streatham, south London, at the age of six. He attended grammar school and studied design at City and East London College before joining the fashion design course at the world-renowned Central Saint Martin's art college in 1981.

His graduate collection in 1984, entitled Les Incroyables, was bought in its entirety by fashion doyenne Joan Burstein, owner of Brown's, the South Molton Street boutique. Galliano's pieces sold out, but he found it difficult to get financial backing as a designer. In the early Nineties, US Vogue editor Anna Wintour helped Galliano secure backing for a show. Supermodel friends such as Christy Turlington, Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss modelled for him free of charge.

Galliano was noticed by chairman of LVMH Bernard Arnault, who, in 1995, installed him as chief designer at Givenchy. After only a year there, he moved to Dior.

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Fashion

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

    £18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitm...

    Recruitment Genius: Factory Operatives

    £7 - £8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This high quality thread manufacturer ba...

    Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

    £22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

    Ashdown Group: Recruitment Consultant / Account Manager - Surrey / SW London

    £40000 per annum + realistic targets: Ashdown Group: A thriving recruitment co...

    Day In a Page

    The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

    The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

    Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
    Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

    Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

    Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
    Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

    David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

    The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
    Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

    Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

    Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
    With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

    Money, corruption and drugs

    The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
    America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

    150 years after it was outlawed...

    ... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
    Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

    Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

    The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
    Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

    You won't believe your eyes

    Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
    Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

    Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

    The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
    War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
    Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

    Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

    The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
    A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

    It's not easy being Green

    After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
    Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

    Gorillas nearly missed

    BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
    Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

    The Downton Abbey effect

    Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
    China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

    China's wild panda numbers on the up

    New census reveals 17% since 2003