Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Filling a void - Dior's bird of paradise ousted

After John Galliano's rapid layoff at Dior on the eve of Paris Fashion Week following a line of unpardonable and allegations of racism and anti-Semitism, the fashion industry is holding its breath and standing as curious onlookers waiting to watch how a former golden child is falling from grace.
Luxury conglomerate LVMH rapidly executed its zero tolerance policy and suspended the couturier from his post as creative director at Dior on Friday, 25th of February 2011.
After cumulative accusations, which have peaked in the release of a rather shocking video on youtube, where the obviously intoxicated couturier is mumbling Nazi sympathatic remarks as well as anti-Semtitic abuses, he was finally let go of his position at Dior on February 28th.
Natalie Portman, newly crowned Academy Award winner, Dior ambassadress and new face for Miss Dior Cherie who in a strong official statement distanced herself instantly from John Galliano and declared that she "is proud to be Jewish" and "...shocked and disgusted..." by the designer's action and wishes to disassociate herself clearly from his persona.
How quickly the public distanced itself from designer extraordinaire was also reflected by how few celebrities sported the brand Dior on the red carpet of the Academy Awards this sunday - only Nicole Kidman and Sharon Stone adhered to their robes designed by John Galliano.

Finally today, Wednesday 2nd, John Galliano's much anticipated statement was released by law firm Harbottle & Lewis:

“I was subjected to verbal harassment and an unprovoked assault when an individual tried to hit me with a chair having taken violent exception to my look and my clothing. For these reasons I have commenced proceedings for defamation and the threats made against me,” Galliano said in the statement. “However, I fully accept that the accusations made against me have greatly shocked and upset people.”he also said that he''ll take full responsibility for the “circumstances in which I found myself and for allowing myself to be seen to be behaving in the worst possible light. I only have myself to blame and I know that I must face up to my own failures and that I must work hard to gain people's understanding and compassion." 
"I have fought my entire life against prejudice, intolerance and discrimination having been subjected to it myself,” he further stated. “In all my work my inspiration has been to unite people of every race, creed, religion and sexuality by celebrating their cultural and ethnic diversity through fashion. That remains my guiding light.”

Fellow couturier icon Karl Lagerfeld added fuel to the facts of the case stating the following to WWD: "I’m furious that it could happen, because the question is no longer even whether he really said it. The image has gone around the world. It’s a horrible image for fashion...". Also, Lagerfeld pointed out that fashion is "...a business world where, especially today, with the Internet, one has to be more careful than ever....". He ranted on to be furious with Galliano for being ungrateful and having seriously harmed CEO Bernard Arnault's pet label of conglomerate LVMH.

Irrespective of the negative short term ramifications this incident and subsequent media pandemonium will have on Dior, the long term impact of Galliano's departure on the legacy of couture house Dior remains to be seen.
Having been in charge of Dior since 1996, John Galliano unmistakably left his signature fingerprint and fused his creative genius and showmanship with the brand. The fashion world is already starting to speculate who might be capable of stepping into John Galliano's larger-than-life creative footprints at Dior who bestowed some of the most dramatic, memorable and remarkable couture moments on us during his 14 years of creative reign at Dior.


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