The Unfabulous Fall of John Galliano
The erratic couturier has long been renowned for his late-night cavorting and heavy drinking. Now he's paying the price.
Call it a cliché, call it the classic Tennessee Williams combination, but designer John Galliano’s attorney maintains that his client’s outrageous behavior of late—praising Hitler in a drunken rant that became an online video—is due to “alcohol mixed with medications.” The erratic couturier has long been famous for his late-night partying and heavy drinking. Lawyer Stephane Zerbib said: “It could happen to any of us…You’re very vulnerable when you’re in this state.” The New Yorker’s Michael Specter recently wrote of Galliano: "He was a slave to addiction; those addictions rotated through the years: drugs, sex, alcohol, exercise, and finally, and most damagingly, his own public image.” And in a pattern depressingly familiar among the rich and famous, “Galliano’s drug abuse was seen by many of the most prominent people in fashion as an adorable foible, like wearing a monocle or writing with a fountain pen. 'Oh, that’s just John,' one of France’s better known fashion people once told me. 'Obsessive indulgence is his thing.'” Perhaps so, but the flamboyant designer was recently dropped by Dior. Perhaps most furious of all was designer Karl Lagerfeld, who told WWD: “The thing is, we are a business world where, especially today, with the Internet, one has to be more careful than ever, especially if you are a publicly known person. You cannot go in the street and be drunk—there are things you cannot do.” While rumors place Galliano at an undisclosed Arizona rehab site, he is scheduled to appear at a high court hearing in Paris on May 12 to set a trial date. He is charged with insulting people in public, a curious French crime punishable by six months in prison and a 2,500 euro fine.