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John Galliano’s Sad Faux Pas

April 18, 2011

I’ve been debating whether to blog about this incident or not.  I heard about it a couple of weeks after it happened and have been musing over it for several weeks since.  I finally decided that I needed to write about it.

John Galliano, British designer with his own label in addition to working for both Givenchy and Dior, was fired in March after a drunken outburst in a Paris bar during which Galliano hurled racist and anti-semitic comments to patrons of the bar.  Apparently, this was not the first outburst of this nature from Mr. Galliano.

The whole incident makes me incredibly sad and conflicted, like when a kid’s admiration for a personal hero is demolished upon learning a disappointing and embarrassing revelation about that hero.

It reminds me of a discussion I had in college with my sculpture professor about separating the artist from their art.  I had mentioned my displeasure at Picasso’s art in connection with his abhorrent treatment of women; my professor questioned my rationale but never offered his own perspective (he was a big fan of the Socratic Method).  I am better able to separate the artist from their art now, but it still stains my enjoyment of the art when the artist displays such an odious personality flaw.  I suppose it’s a very human trait that makes us want to like those who produce the things that we enjoy.  Or maybe it’s because I’m a woman and we’re raised to act nice and expect everyone else to follow that code.

Either way, it’s frustrating to me that someone as talented as Galliano would not only hold such repugnant personal beliefs, but then would loudly vocalize those beliefs in public – more than once!  I guess it’s good that at least we know he feels that way, rather than him hiding his prejudices….

So, I wanted to throw this out there to see how y’all feel about it.  Do you feel good about Dior since it fired Galliano?  Does Galliano’s behavior disgust you?  Should it matter what a designer’s personal beliefs are?  Do you separate business from politics?  Or do you show your support with your purse, boycotting when something upsets you?

Would love to hear from you if you’ve got any comments.  Below are some of the tragically beautiful designs from Mr. Galliano’s collection upon the eve of his dismissal from Dior.

5/26/2011 – I completely forgot to credit the fabulous Mr. Stephen Jones with doing the lovely hats in Mr. Galliano’s line!  If you haven’t already, check out Stephen Jones’ wonderful world of millinery madcaperie!  (Yes, I just made that word up.)

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As always, please feel free to comment on this post below.  If you like what you see here, subscribe to this blog for more great millinery stuff!

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. April 18, 2011 5:48 pm

    I’m sure that there are many items that I purchase, where I’m not aware of the maker’s personal opinions on such topics, but if I do know, and the maker is blatantly flaunting his or her prejudices and it goes against what I find to be offensive, then shame on me if I purchase from that particular maker or company. Why would I, through my actions and hard earned money, condone their hatred? There are far too many talented makers, designers, creators, companies, who are not purposefully hateful, ignorant or prejudiced. And, you can rest assured that I would do exactly as Dior did, and let such a person go. It would definitely have reflected poorly on them had they turned a blind eye to such actions. The world is far too globally connected to keep such a lose canon on board. Galliano should take to heart the words of Abraham Lincoln, who said, “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.” Employers can no longer afford to keep fools on staff…It’s off-putting to good customers, as it should. Perhaps Galliano should spend some time walking in other’s shoes (or wearing their hat) and re-think his actions, hopefully realizing the error of his ways and then making a move in the right direction by apologizing for his hurtful actions.

    • May 9, 2011 7:25 pm

      Dawn,
      I agree with you that Dior made the right decision in letting Mr. Galliano go. Hopefully he will realize that his designs are only as valuable as their ability to make people of all ethnicities feel good about themselves.
      -Ginger

  2. Sylvea permalink
    June 22, 2011 2:37 pm

    I’ve been enjoying reading back on your blog, love it! The only comment I have is this, every single person I have ever heard singing their praise for Hitler has amused me only in the fact that, thus far, it has always come from someone who would *never* have been accepted by the Nazi ideal of a perfect human. Gay, ethnic in any way, alternative – all were given the same treatment.

    • July 1, 2011 11:18 am

      Sylvea,

      That’s an interesting observation. I think the fact that Hitler’s own geneaology is questionable (many believe that he had Jewish blood – methinks he doth protest too much….) is intriguing, and even his sexual orientation has been questioned. I’m currently reading

        Hitler’s Niece: A Novel

      , a piece of historical fiction by Ron Hansen, which is a fascinating book that I picked up while browsing my local library for my next read. I’m sure the book was well-researched but I wish I could tell which parts are fact. Either way, Hansen represents Hitler in a most interesting way. Neurotic, selfish, completely narcissistic, possibly bipolar, obsessed with his mother who died of cancer when he was a young man, a master manipulator and brilliant schemer, clearly an uber control freak, but also very human with some odd quirks and a constant sense of loneliness (and outsider-ness) as well as persistent paranoia (all of which would explain why he went to the extremes he did to prove how glorious he felt he was). The book also shows how effective Nazi propaganda was for those everyday Germans who wanted an easy way out of their tragic economic situation, but it also emphasizes that not every German supported Hitler, which we don’t hear often enough.

      Anyway, I think, like you said, that Hitler’s legacy is continued by people who feel the same way he felt: outsiders who feel misunderstood and powerless. I imagine that if they researched more closely, a large majority of American Nazis might discover their ancestry has one or more of the despised traits which they so fiercely condemn. Humans are a rather frail lot, don’t you think?

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