The disgraced clothing designer John Galliano has given his first interview since he was fired from French fashion house Christian Dior after being caught on video making a series of drunken antisemitic remarks.
In what he described as his first-ever sober interview, Galliano told Vanity Fair journalist Ingrid Sischy that he was deeply sorry for the offense his comments had caused and described a high-octane life that had spiralled out of control in a blizzard of drink and drugs.
In remarks released ahead of the magazine's publication, Galliano said that his problems with substance abuse had become so bad that he might have died had he not disgraced himself and lost his job, thus forcing him to seek help. "I was going to end up in a mental asylum or six feet under... it sounds a bit bizarre, but I am so grateful for what did happen. I have learned so much about myself. I have re-discovered that little boy who had the hunger to create, which I think I had lost. I am alive," he said.
Galliano was dismissed as chief designer by Dior in March 2011, after it was revealed he had made antisemitic remarks at a cafe in Paris. Later that year, a French court found him guilty for making public insults based on origin, religious affiliation, race or ethnicity. "I love Hitler," Galliano had told several patrons of the bar in a video that then went viral on the internet. "Your mother, your forefathers would be fucking gassed and fucking dead."
The rant was career suicide and Galliano has been to a large extent shunned by the fashion world since then. He has profusely apologised for the incident, something that he repeated in the Vanity Fair interview. "It's the worst thing I have said in my life, but I didn't mean it ... I have been trying to find out why that anger was directed at this race. I now realise I was so fucking angry and so discontent with myself that I just said the most spiteful thing I could," he said.
In the interview Galliano did not shy away from revealing the extent of his problems as he described downing bottles of vodka, taking large numbers of pills and experiencing blackouts. He said he did not even remember the evening he made the racist remarks. "I had the tremors. I wouldn't sleep for five days," he said. He also revealed the depth of his fall from grace with the fashion establishment, saying that only model Linda Evangelista made the trek to see him on the first visitors' weekend at his rehab facility in Arizona.
Yet Galliano is now embarking on something of an image rehabilitation effort. Women's Wear Daily has reported that he has also been holding talks to do a high-profile US television interview, perhaps with PBS journalist Charlie Rose.
But the comeback path is not likely to be entirely smooth. Last month top New York design school Parsons cancelled a three-day class that Galliano was supposed to teach there. As soon as the course was announced, a petition was started to protest it that attracted several thousand signatures.
In the wake of that move school leaders eventually said the event could not take place. "An important element of the planned workshop with John Galliano was a candid conversation about the connection between his professional work and his actions in the world at large. Unfortunately, we could not reach consensus with Mr Galliano on the conditions of this conversation, and the program could not move forward," the school said in a statement.
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