Purple Fashion

[March 2 2011]


When I saw the iPhone video that people were sending me of John Galliano proclaiming his love for Hitler at La Perle, I was shocked. I never heard him saying anything like that before, even though I may not be one of his closest friends. Evidently, John is haunted by a morbid, anti-Semitic obsession, and the words and threats that can be heard in this video are inacceptable. I can find no excuse for this, whether or not he is drunk or on medication, or even his extreme megalomania.

However, his drunken anti-Semitic tirade seems to be more of a desperate cry, a public suicide, a hardcore Brit-punk provocation, than an affirmation of any racist convictions. I mainly harbor a great sadness for John Galliano because this unfortunate incident (and once again, intolerable) marks for him a sudden end — one that is unworthy of his rare talent and his extraordinary sense of mise-en-scène.

Clearly, in this absurd altercation, John Galliano is expressing the distress of a designer worn-out by this industry, isolated from others by his eccentric celebrity and his megalomania, dissocialized and profoundly alone. It seems that the only way John could interact with unknown people that night at La Perle, in his search for a contact, was to provoke and frighten them on the evening that this video was taken. The hate for others is most often the expression of the hate of one’s self and an obscure impulse for self-destruction.

So John, speaking as a member of the fashion community who has always been inspired by your work, I think we are all only waiting for you to publicly excuse yourself, to admit that what you said is just fucking crazy! But mostly that it’s not what you truly believe. If you can confirm this for us, the entire fashion world would be able to come back on your side. And I, personally, don’t want you to become an Internet pariah. I still want to see more John Galliano collections — you’re one of the last designers of my generation that still believes in the power of fashion to make us dream.


Olivier Zahm

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