John Galliano’s Atonement

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Last night John Galliano sat with Charlie Rose discussing his rise and fall both personally and within the fashion industry.  This was his first televised interview since being caught on tape in 2010 making racist remarks which resulted in his firing from Christian Dior.  When questioned about the incident John stated he had no memory of the event.  He described himself as being a black out drinker and was reportedly in this state when his hurtful comments were made.  At the time the video was shot he’d hit rock bottom and was mixing both alcohol and pills.  He stated his life had become unmanageable and described himself as being a fully functioning addict.

John talked about being bullied as a child and finding the love of art and drawing as his way to escape.  He told Charlie one of his best moments was moving to Paris to start at Christian Dior, but was very open about the pressures of putting out 32 collections each year for both Dior and his own label.

When the subject of Alexander McQueen was approached John said he understood him.  He related to his pain, his loneliness, and constant quest for perfection.  He said, “You’re only as good as the last collection.”

John has been sober for over two years, is self-aware, and living day by day.  After his crash in 2010 he came to Arizona for rehabilitation.  Initially, he struggled with the reality of his addiction, but was eventually able to identify as a sober addict and alcoholic.  Sadly, during his initial recovery, he lost the desire to pick up a pencil and sketch, and questioned whether or not his creativity would ever return.

It appears Oscar de la Renta was his true saving grace.  When John speaks of him his eyes light up and a smile crosses his face.  Oscar gave him a second chance and invited him to do a residency.  John helped Oscar work on his fall 2013 collection, and it was during this time his creativity and fashion instincts resurfaced.

In the hour-long interview John Galliano showed how he’s become humble.  A man who once saw himself as a sort of fashion god is now asking for forgiveness.  John hopes that through his atonement people will give him a second chance, but only time will tell how this story plays out.

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