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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Is John Galliano deserving of your forgiveness?

FashionIs John Galliano deserving of your forgiveness?

The creative director of Dior, John Galliano, was drunk and antisemitic when another customer began filming him at a Paris restaurant. A few months later, the video reappeared when another incident happened. He said that people like you would be dead after the conviction. He is one of the greatest living fashion designers, even if you think he is an antisemite. When we are asked if we can hold those two ideas in our heads at the same time, it will be the most direct question we have ever been asked. The Washington Post's Style section covers everything from the arts, media, social trends, politics, and fashion, to all told with personality and deep reporting. Kevin Macdonald, known for his attraction to morally ambiguous or flawed characters, is the director of a new documentary called "High & Low: John Galliano." Galliano is the subject and star of the film. I have made a lot of films about people who are either nice people or not nice people, and you have to ask them all the time if they are nice people or not. Macdonald thought about canceled figures in the film industry when he came up with the idea of a documentary on Galliano. How do you say your Hail Marys in the old days? That was the first thing I thought about when someone suggested John as a subject.

Was that Wintour? Dana Thomas, a veteran fashion reporter and author of a book on John Galliano and Alexander McQueen called "Gods and Kings", wrote in her fashion newsletter earlier this week that "Wintour shopped the project to directors for several years, and I personally know three who turned it down." It is up to each viewer to decide if Condé Nast was the architect or a helping hand. Macdonald said that Wintour was involved in the film early on to offer her help and that she was helpful to people who wouldn't have participated. Galliano did not ask for approval, but Macdonald set up many of their conversations so the designer is looking directly into the camera, and in the opening minutes lights a cigarette and declares, "Oh, I'm going to tell you everything." Macdonald said that no one tried to control the film.

The documentary was released in theaters earlier this month. One of the greatest and most important fashion shows of the past decade was staged in January by Galliano, and is already being considered one of the best. At Paris Fashion Week earlier this month, rumors swirled that he was being courted by one of the many fashion houses that have been without a creative director since Matthew Williams left in December. A source close to the Metropolitan Museum of Art told me that the Costume Institute was considering putting on a show about John Galliano. The Israel-Gaza war and fears of rising antisemitism is a potential lightning rod. Whether this documentary is the latest step in the campaign to bring Galliano back into the mainstream or not, are people ready to forgive him? Galliano seems to have gotten something off his chest after filming the documentary. The Tabi shoes, a Martin Margiela cleft-toed creation that is now the Gen Z andmillennial designer shoe du jour, are mostly known for their explosion in popularity. His Fall couture show in July 2022, a film and live performance featuring incestual stepsiblings killing their parents, implies that he is no longer designing hesitantly. The editor of WSJ Magazine told the Cut's fashion critic that she wouldn't go to another Galliano show because it was so violent. Rarely does a designer cause such a commotion, and when they do, they almost immediately apologize.

When John should be at his most cautious and careful, he can't seem to help himself by tweaking everybody again. He looked at his life again and that show is his response.

The January couture show, which took him a year to put together, was so extraordinary that it presents a textbook test of choosing to forgive or ignore an artist's bad. A man who takes his time, who doesn't want to just sell you clothes but make you see beauty in a new way, is here. Is his genius worth it? Galliano told Macdonald that he doesn't want to be forgiven, but he wants to be understood. At the beginning and end of the film, you can see him sitting by the recycling bins and trash cans, as if he is chastened. He used to have ridiculous bows at the end of his couture shows, but now it is a million miles away. Macdonald said that Galliano had an ego and that everyone thought he was a genius. It is hard to see how this man can be so in love with movies and a simple life in the country with a man who preened in fashion's spotlight for decades. The journey that you have taken from that person to that person is incredible. You can sympathize with the human being if you see him.

He doesn't remember that this happened more than once. A victim of one of Galliano's attacks spoke in tears about how his words still haunt him. The film has a role for Dior. Dior wanted Sidney Toledano, who was Galliano's boss at Dior and who is also Jewish, to sit for a lengthy interview so they could talk about Galliano's collections again. Toledano told Macdonald that when Dior recently staged a traveling exhibition of its designs by recent creative directors, including Maria Grazia Chiuri, he thought the star of the show was. We are ashamed of the great works.

This is a great way for them to say, "Okay, we've laid that to rest."

It is an agenda that allows them to make more money off Galliano-designed products. Suddenly, someone with no power or clout or even someone with very few followers could get products removed from shelves, entice businesses to set up new groups to encourage diversity or get someone fired. The most juvenile thing about fashion is that those who offend can be ignored or cast off. Galliano has claimed that he is the first victim of cancel culture, but that is not true. He has asked us if he deserves to create art or if he should create art that warrants attention and criticism. If you dislike a designer, you can either not buy their products or look at their shows. He said things in that video that were unforgivable to some people. I don't think he wants to wipe the Jews off the face of the world.

I left the film unconvinced that Galliano knew what he said and why it hurt, despite his meetings with Jewish leaders and a press release from the Anti-Defamation League. I left the film completely convinced of Galliano's genius, but I didn't know if I liked him. Ye is suffering from mental health issues, which should make us think twice about allowing him back into our head space.

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