JOHN GALLIANO is making his fashion return with a temporary residency at Oscar de la Renta’s studio in New York. The designer, who was unceremoniously sacked at Dior in March 2011 after making anti-Semitic remarks in a Paris cafe, will spend the next three weeks with de la Renta as he prepares for his forthcoming New York Fashion Week show.
“John and I have known each other for many years and I am a great admirer of his talent,” de la Renta said. “He has worked long and hard on his recovery and I am happy to give him the opportunity to reimmerse himself in the world of fashion and reacclimate in an environment where he has been so creative.”
Since his Dior dismissal, Galliano designed Kate Moss’ wedding dress in July 2011 and has also been mooted as the new creative director of the newly-relaunched Schiaparelli - rumours that were quickly dismissed. He has spent considerable time recovering from the addictions that caused his much-publicised drunken Paris outburst.
“I am an alcoholic,” Galliano told WWD. “I have been in recovery for the past two years. Several years prior to my sobriety, I descended into the madness of the disease. I said and did things which hurt others, especially members of the Jewish community. I have expressed my sorrow privately and publicly for the pain which I caused, and I continue to do so. I remain committed to making amends to those I have hurt.”
The designer is widely thought of as one of the most talented and creative names in fashion. His shows for both his eponymous label and for Dior were known for their drama and theatrical beauty. He is delighted to be making his fashion comeback.
“I am grateful to Oscar beyond words for inviting me to spend time with him in the familiar surroundings of a design studio,” Galliano said. “His support and faith in me is humbling.”
Although de la Renta dismissed the idea that the move was part of plans to hire Galliano as his successor if he ever decides to retire, he welcomes any creative input the designer has to do with his work.
“While I’m working on a collection, I sit with all of my assistants around me,” he said. “I’m not a loner. I listen to everyone. I wish the Virgin Mary would come and sit next to me. I love to be surrounded by people.”
Anti-Defamation League - an organisation fighting anti-Semitism - strongly supported Galliano’s decision to return to fashion design.
“We believe that individuals can change their hearts and minds as long as they demonstrate true contrition,” said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL’s national director. “Mr Galliano has worked arduously in changing his world view and dedicated a significant amount of time to researching, reading and learning about the evils of anti-Semitism and bigotry. Along his journey to recovery he met with us on numerous occasions. He has accepted full responsibility for his previous remarks and understands that hurtful comments have no place in our society.”
Vogue editor Alexandra Shulman is “delighted” at the news.
“Oscar de la Renta is the king of uptown style and John Galliano the prince of romantic glamour, so it should be a magical match,” she said. “I am delighted John’s returning to fashion.”