Saturday 22 June 2013

John Galliano Braces Media Coverage- First Time Since 2010!

Recently, John Galliano, the designer who was shamed by his anti-semitic rant in Paris in 2011, appeared on Charlie Rose in order to confront the demons which forced him into a downhill spiral.

The interview can be watched online here:

In January, Oscar de la Renta announced that he would seek the help of Galliano for a Fall collection which surprised the fashion industry in its entirety. To remind yourself, have a read of this post:

Oscar de la Renta & Galliano- Fall 2013. 

Although the YouTube videos gained thousands of hits and the headlines received thousands of views, I don't believe anyone truly understood the psychological reasoning behind the comments he made. In a video recorded by a member of the public, Galliano was seen making some very offensive remarks including "I love Hitler". Following this, Galliano was practically made an outcast by anyone who was anyone. 

In this interview, I believe it took great strength and courage for Galliano to properly explain the addiction which led to the comments. It shocked the world at how a creative genius who produced exquisite designs for the House of Dior and the House of Galliano could possibly ruin a reputation so renowned. The interview gave an in-depth insight that finally revealed all.

In my opinion, Galliano appeared nervous, yet humble and calm throughout. After discussing the bullying that occurred at a boy's school he attended in South London, he mentioned his transfer to Central Saint Martins, home to many designers including Christopher Kane and Zac Posen. 

"You draw like a God", he was told. 

Then, the deeper side emerged. Charlie Rose dug into the question everyone wants to know- why? "I was a blackout drinker", explained Galliano. His excessive drinking released "paranoia" and triggered frustrations from his childhood. This may explain his aggressive nature in the Paris recording. A "self-defence mechanism", he called it. 

Galliano, bravely claimed that he was a "slave" to his addiction.

What members of the public and in fact, anybody who does not have high-end fashion designing experience, is that designing equals immense pressure:

"I was producing 32 collections a year between The House of Dior and The House of Galliano." Just looking at the number 32- I can only imagine the stress and struggles that the sheer demand must of put on him. 

From valium, to sleeping pills, to alcohol, Galliano cried "My life became unmanageable". 

One particular point of the interview struck me. "I was acting like God", he admitted. Luckily, he now understands that he is not in the driving seat of his fate and has reconnected with God, in order to seek forgiveness for his behaviour. I can only admire him for attempting to change and recognising how grateful he should be that he is alive today. 

When the suicide of Alexander McQueen was mentioned, Galliano simply exclaimed " I understood". This powerful statement made everything into a blank canvas, I believe. 

Throughout, Galliano recognised that he could not mask nor excuse his behaviour in any way, with any psychological tendencies or explanations, yet he knew that the person seen in the video was not him, in any way. In fact, he claims he has no memory of his being there as the alcohol took over his memory and his subconscious acted as reality. The triggered comments about him being "arian", by the recorders definitely provoked an uncalled-for reaction. 

By the end, I saw a changed man, despite not meeting or knowing him personally. I believe he fully grieves his actions every day and if it wasn't for Oscar de la Renta giving him that chance to shine again, his gifted ways of design may have escaped him forever. Anna Wintour has also played a vital role in helping reform his ways. "She's amazing. She inspires me", he praised as he smiled blissfully. 

Overall, I commend Galliano for opening up and perhaps shedding some hope for other addicts who are too ashamed to seek help. After rehabilitation in Arizona and many attempts to make amends with clients, friends and family, I believe Galliano can recover one step at a time. Perhaps the breakdown allowed him to finally realise that he needed to say "no" occasionally and seek the full support of his team. Health is the most important thing here and I can only hope that one day soon, Galliano will be given the forgiveness he requires and the platform to create the designs we miss so dearly. However, as long as he continues to make his years sober, a great accomplishment has stemmed from this tragedy. 

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