John Galliano, born November 28th 1960 is a British fashion designer who served as head designer of the French haute couture houses Givenchy (1995-1996) and Christian Dior (1996-2011).
Then in February 2011 Galliano, then head of Christian Dior, imploded with a drunken, anti-Semitic public tirade. Oh, and it was all caught on video!
Not exactly what a multinational conglomerate like Dior needs. It represented a meteoric fall for one of Fashion’s biggest start.
Now a new book, “Gods and Kings” by Paris based journalist Dana Thomas chronicles the chaotic lives of both Galliano and Alexander McQueen.
Galliano and McQueen shared plenty of common ground. In the 1990s, they spearheaded the English invasion of the Paris fashion industry, landing jobs as creative directors for Dior and Givenchy, both headed by French tycoon and LVMH boss Bernard Arnault.
Both were also sensitive, shy, gay men raised in tough London neighborhoods. Both men had a lot of inner demons.
Thomas’ book educates readers about the contributions both designers made towards the luxury fashion industry. They helped transition the industry from an oligarch of small, family-owned businesses into a $280 billion-a-year global corporate industry. With their immense talent, creativity and larger than life personalities, they brought dynamic and life to archaic brands whose corporate leadership expanded the business on every front.
Luxury fashion became highly lucrative and designers became celebrities in their own right. The result was an insatiable public appetite for more and more designs on increasingly rapid deadlines.
It is difficult for all designers in this era to keep up with the rapid seasonal collections and the stress. For both Galliano and McQueen, the pace was crippling. McQueen tragically died. Galliano lives on.
Enter 2014. When Renzo Rosso confirmed weeks of rumors and announced that John Galliano would assume the creative director mantle at Maison Martin Margiela. There’s no arguing that it’s a surprising choice, possibly even brand suicide. The question remains to be seen whether the public will forgive Galliano.
Since Martin Margiela left in 2009, the company has maintained a strict policy of anonymity regarding its design team that is very much in keeping with Margiela’s Mr. Invisible image. Choosing Galliano is the opposite of the invisible image.
See highlights of the collection below: