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Wednesday, April 24, 2024
The independent student publication of The University at Buffalo, since 1950

A High-Fashion Disgrace

Hannah Barnes

One of fashion's biggest names has been tarnished forever.

John Galliano, the now-former head designer for the fashion house of Christian Dior, was fired last week for making multiple racist attacks on patrons at a Paris bar. Galliano was briefly arrested almost two weeks ago for hurling anti-Semitic remarks at a couple in the bar, and barely a week later, a video surfaced online showing the designer declaring his love for Hitler and making other remarks at the same venue.

The remarks at the couple were made in late February, and the video that recently surfaced was filmed previously and showed Galliano speaking to two women about how their forefathers should have been "gassed."

This is a huge blow to the fashion industry, which has long looked to Galliano for new ideas and trends, and for the over-the-top fashion spectacles that he puts on at his runway shows. Extravagant and outlandish as he is, many people never expected this sort of thing to come from Galliano, who ironically always insisted that he had Jewish blood.

Why, then, would he call a woman a "dirty Jew," and make awful remarks about Jewish people in general? There is no excuse for actions like that, and there is no reason to discriminate against others. Someone who is as interested in culture and has had such experiences as Galliano should not have the mindset that certain groups of people are so much better than others. The admiration for Hitler is out of line, as well.

Clearly, Galliano should have been more careful with his words, and he should have thought about the consequences that such statements would surely bring. Thoughts are difficult to change, so if he wants to think in those racist ways, then there is not much the world can do about it. It can, however, punish him for his words, and it definitely did.

I feel the pain of the fashion world, because this situation presents somewhat of a moral dilemma. On one hand, Galliano was clearly out of line and made remarks that were of the nastiest variety, things that no decent person should ever say. On the other hand, he is one of the premier designers in the world right now, and to lose him would be a huge loss for fashion.

His release from Dior was a wise move on the company's part, because it made clear that the house would not stand for any kind of anti-Semitic feelings, and that it would not give Galliano any special treatment.

Oscar winner Natalie Portman also expressed her feelings about this situation, first choosing to wear Rodarte over Dior to the Oscars after hearing about the remarks, and then issuing a statement in which she said that she was "shocked and disgusted" by Galliano's comments.

This behavior came at a huge time in the fashion world; Galliano's statements surfaced during Milan Fashion Week, and his firing happened during Paris Fashion Week, days before the Christian Dior show was set to hit the runway. The show did go on, but without the famed designer in attendance and with a statement from Dior's CEO about the values of the house.

The designer's own show, for the house of John Galliano, was still held Sunday, but it was noticeably downsized from the opulent spectacles that Galliano normally constructs. Only 20 looks were shown in a modest salon in Paris.

It is a pity to see someone so talented fall so far, but it was only Galliano's own actions that led to his undoing. The fashion world will never forget the contributions he has made, and only time will tell what will happen to Dior's former main man.

E-mail: features@ubspectrum.com


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