After the drunken outburst that led to his dismissal from Christian Dior two years ago, many predicted that designer John Galliano would never work in fashion again.
But it was today reported that he will make a comeback during the New York shows next month, as part of a three-week residency at the studios of Oscar de la Renta, having received treatment for his alcoholism.
“I am a great admirer of [John’s] talent,” the American designer told Women’s Wear Daily. “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.”
It’s a brave move on the part of de la Renta, given the remarks that Galliano made and the world’s reaction to them. In amateur video footage, which appeared to show him drunk in a Parisian café, the designer told a nearby Jewish patron: “I love Hitler…People like you would be dead.”
Within three days of the video surfacing online, Galliano had been suspended from his role of creative director at Dior just days ahead of the label’s autumn 2011 show, and his comments condemned by the face of the brand, the actress Natalie Portman. An official dismissal swiftly followed and, after that, arrest, a trial for “public insult” and a fine of £5,000.
Since then, little has been heard or seen of the designer once touted as the brightest and boldest working in the arena. Though the industry was quick to disassociate itself after the scandal, there were those – including shoe designer Manolo Blahnik and US Vogue’s creative director Grace Coddington – who mourned the absence of the man who had been at its forefront for 15 years.
“I have been in recovery for two years,” Galliano told reporters after the announcement today. “I am grateful to Oscar beyond words for inviting me to spend time with him in the familiar surroundings of a design studio.”
Work-wise, de la Renta’s label is a fitting place for Galliano to start again; the two men’s vision is similarly opulent and romantic. Both excel in presenting a nostalgic vision of femininity that is more fairytale than it is fashion, in hoop-skirted gowns and sinuous silks.
Reaction in the industry and more widely on social media suggested that Galliano’s return was welcomed by many – now that he has done his period of penury.