John Galliano is a renowned fashion designer who has been active in the industry since 1991, since than he has designed for giant designer labels Givenchy, Dior and briefly Oscar De la Renta. The decision to appoint Galliano as the creative director for Maison Martin Margiela is not only brave but controversial.
Just before Paris Fashion Week for Autumn/Winter 2011-2012, in an incident on the 25th pf February 2011, outside a Paris bar that led to his immediate expulsion from Dior, Galliano was caught on camera slurring anti-sematic remarks to Jewish Italian women, “I love Hitler… People like you would be dead. Your mothers, your forefathers would all be fucking gassed“. It turned out this is not the only time Galliano was racist towards a civilian, as at the same bar in December of the previous year, Galliano made a similar remark.
Though Galliano denied the accusations and launched a defamation lawsuit against those accusing him of anti-Semitism, it did not stop Dior’s chief executive Sidney Toledano dismissing Galliano from Dior on 1st March 2011. In 2013 Galliano, received a deal from Oscar De La Renta brokered by Anna Wintour, for a residency at de la Renta’s design studio, however this was only temporary to help prepare for the showing of de la Renta’s Fall 2013 ready-to-wear collection during February’s New York Fashion Week.
Since the incident in 2011, this will be Galliano’s first appointment. The Belgian brand based in Paris is owned by Only the Brave group, parent company of Diesel and Marni. In a 2008 article, it was released that Raf Simmons and Haider Ackermann were offered the role of creative director but turned it down. Just a year later in December 2009, it was announced that Margiela “has left the business. No replacement creative director will be appointed. Maison Martin Margiela will continue trading but the company declined to comment on the reasons for Margiela’s exit“. Margiela was known for his privacy, he never had his picture taken and preferred to remain backstage.
“They hired the most visible designer to replace the most invisible designer, which is very ironic and funny and from that point of view, very much in the spirit of Maison Martin Margiela”, said Bea Ercolini, editor-in-chief at Elle Belgium. Galliano’s first show will be in January for Couture Fashion Week, it is only then will Maison Martin Margiela and the world know whether this decision was correct.