John Galliano

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John Galliano

John Galliano - défilé Christian Dior - 25 juin 2010.png
Galliano in 2010
Juan Carlos Antonio Galliano-Guillén[1]

(1960-11-28) 28 November 1960 (age 62)
EducationCentral Saint Martins
PartnerAlexis Roche
AwardsBritish Fashion Designer of the Year for 1987, '94, '95 and '97
Dress of the Year Fashion Museum, Bath for 1987
Order of the British Empire (2001)
French Legion of Honour (2009; revoked 2012)

John Charles Galliano[2] CBE, RDI (born 28 November 1960) is a British fashion designer from Gibraltar. He was the creative director of his eponymous label John Galliano and French fashion houses Givenchy and Dior.[3] Since 2014, Galliano has been the creative director of Paris-based fashion house Maison Margiela.[4] Galliano has been named British Designer of the Year four times. In a 2004 poll for the BBC, he was named the fifth most influential person in British culture.[5][6]

Early life and education[edit]

Galliano was born in Gibraltar to a Gibraltarian father of Italian descent, Juan Galliano, and a Spanish mother, Anita Galliano, and has two sisters.[1] His father worked as a plumber.[7] His family moved to England when Galliano was six, settling in Streatham and later Dulwich and Brockley in South London.[7][8][9] He was raised in a strict Catholic family.[10]

Galliano attended St. Anthony's Primary School, Dulwich and Wilson's Grammar School in London.[11] He went on to study at Central Saint Martins and graduated in 1984 with a first class honours degree in Fashion Design.[8] His graduating collection was inspired by the French Revolution and entitled Les Incroyables.[8] The collection received positive reviews and was bought in its entirety for resale in the London fashion boutique Browns.[8] Galliano was appointed head designer of Givenchy in 1995, thus becoming the first British designer to head a French haute couture house.


John Galliano ensemble; Dress of the Year for 1987

Early career and the John Galliano label[edit]


Galliano then started his own eponymous label alongside long-term collaborators Amanda Harlech, at that time stylist with Harpers and Queen, and Stephen Jones, a milliner.[12][13][14] On the back of this success, Galliano rented studio space in London. Initially, financial backing came from Johan Brun, and when this agreement came to an end, Danish entrepreneur Ole Peder Bertelsen, owner of firm Aguecheek, who were also backing Katharine Hamnett at the time, took over. This agreement ended in 1988 and he went bankrupt after his own London-based label failed.


In 1989, Galliano moved to Paris in search of financial backing and a strong client base. Galliano secured the backing of Paris-based Moroccan designer Faycal Amor (owner and creative director of fashion label Plein Sud) who invited him to set up his base in Paris at the Plein Sud headquarters. His first show was in 1989 as part of Paris Fashion Week.

Media fashion celebrity Susannah Constantine has worked for Galliano,[15] and he has also aided the future success of other designers including shoe designer Patrick Cox. In 1991, he collaborated with Kylie Minogue, designing the costumes for her Let's Get to It Tour.[16]

In 1993, Galliano's financial agreement with Amor ended and he did not have a showing in October, missing the season. With the help of American Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour and André Leon Talley, then European correspondent at Vanity Fair, Galliano was introduced to Portuguese socialite and fashion patron São Schlumberger and financial backers of venture firm Arbela Inc, John Bult and Mark Rice. It was through this partnership that Galliano received the financial backing and high society stamp needed to give him credibility in Paris. This collection was important in the development of Galliano as a fashion house, and is regarded as a 'fashion moment' in high fashion circles.[17][18]


In July 1995, he was appointed as the designer of Givenchy by Bernard Arnault, owner of luxury goods conglomerate LVMH. On 21 January 1996, Galliano presented his first couture show at the helm of Givenchy at the Stade de France. The collection received high praise within the fashion media.[citation needed] Some of Galliano's designs for Givenchy were licensed to Vogue Patterns.[19] He was then moved to Dior by LVMH, and succeeded at Givenchy by Alexander McQueen.


Galliano ballgowns designed for Dior as exhibited in Moscow, 2011
Galliano Dior newspaper dress at the Royal Ontario Museum

In October 1996, LVMH moved Galliano to Christian Dior, replacing Italian designer Gianfranco Ferré.[20] At Dior, Galliano received widespread critical acclaim for his Haute Couture and ready-to-wear collections, for the whole duration of his tenure there.

Galliano designed the chinoiserie chartreuse gown worn by Nicole Kidman at the 69th Academy Awards in 1997.[21]

In 2010, Galliano identified his love of theatre and femininity as central to his creations; he said "my role is to seduce", and credited Standard Oil heiress Millicent Rogers as an influence.[22]

Antisemitic incident and firing[edit]

In December 2010, a drunken Galliano insulted a group of Italian women in Paris with antisemitic slurs, which was caught on camera. The video resurfaced in February 2011, just before Paris Fashion Week Autumn/Winter 2011/2012. Facing public and legal scrutiny, he was fired from his role as creative director at Dior.[23]

Oscar de la Renta[edit]

In 2013, a Guardian article describing Galliano's incident claims "fashion forgave John Galliano" due to his "two years' exile" and "several statements expressing his sorrow and self-disgust."[citation needed]

In early 2013, Galliano accepted an invitation from Oscar de la Renta, brokered by Anna Wintour, for a temporary residency at de la Renta's design studio to help prepare for a showing of his Fall 2013 ready-to-wear collection during February New York Fashion Week.[24] Galliano also received a measure of absolution from the Anti-Defamation League, which lauded his efforts to atone for his misdeeds and wished him well.[25] The ADL again came to his defence after the New York Post ran a photo of him on his way to the de la Renta show dressed in what it claimed was Hasidic-like garb.[26][27]

Galliano remained backstage at the show, which received favourable reviews[28][29] amid speculation about his future, including as a possible successor to Oscar de la Renta[30] and that Galliano might take up a teaching post at Parsons The New School for Design.[31] On 12 June 2013, Galliano's first filmed interview since his dismissal from Christian Dior was broadcast on United States television. He closed this conversation by stating, "I am able to create. I am ready to create... [and] I hope through my atonement I'll be given a second chance."[32]

Maison Margiela[edit]

On 6 October 2014, the OTB Group announced that John Galliano had joined Maison Margiela to take the responsibility of the creative direction of the house,[33] marking the designer's return to a leading role in designing luxury fashion. Just a few weeks later, on the occasion of the annual British Fashion Awards, Galliano presented the Outstanding Achievement Award to Anna Wintour who wore Galliano's first creation for Maison Martin Margiela, "an unambiguous fashion blessing" from the Editor in Chief of American Vogue according to Vanessa Friedman, Fashion Director of the New York Times.[34]

Galliano exhibited his first couture collection for Margiela during London Collections: Men, on 12 January 2015. He told French Elle in 2018 that he would stop using fur in his collections, citing as inspiration from a meeting with Penélope Cruz and PETA's Dan Matthews.[35]

On 26 September 2018, Galliano made a statement in Paris at his Maison Margiela show, when he unveiled Mutiny, his first perfume for the fashion house.[36] The perfume is a reflection of his vision of the Maison Margiela women.[37]


Antisemitic outburst[edit]

Circa December 2010, a drunken Galliano insulted a group of Jewish women in Paris bar La Perle,[38] saying: "I love Hitler... People like you would be dead. Your mothers, your forefathers would all be fucking gassed."[39][40][41] The video resurfaced in February 2011, just before Paris Fashion Week Autumn/Winter 2011/2012.

On 25 February 2011, Dior announced their suspension of Galliano[42] including the following statement:

Because of the particularly odious character of the behaviour and comments made by John Galliano in a video made public on Monday, the Dior house decided to suspend him immediately and has engaged in a process to dismiss him.[38]

The show-business industry expressed mixed feelings towards the designer's antisemitic speech.[43][44] Natalie Portman, who had an endorsement contract with Dior, said she was "deeply shocked" by Galliano's comments and that "these still-existing prejudices... are the opposite of all that is beautiful"[45][46] and "As an individual who is proud to be Jewish, [she] will not be associated with Mr. Galliano in any way."[38] However, another model for Dior, French model and actress Eva Green, said of the incident: "Sometimes, you can make mistakes. I don't think he's antisemitic. I'm Jewish. I don't think he has anything against the Jews. I think it's more that he was probably a bit drunk."[47]

Galliano denied the allegations through his lawyer,[48] and launched a defamation lawsuit against the couple accusing him of antisemitism.[49] On 1 March 2011, Dior announced that it had begun procedures of dismissal for Galliano, with Dior's chief executive Sidney Toledano stating, "I very firmly condemn what was said by John Galliano."[48] Dior announced it will continue to support the Galliano brand financially due to licence despite the scandal, and Bill Gaytten would replace John Galliano as creative director at the helm of Dior and the Galliano brand.[50]

In France, the expression of antisemitic ideas is illegal. It was reported on 2 March 2011 that Galliano was to face trial in Paris for allegedly making antisemitic comments to two fellow customers in a café. The trial commenced on 22 June 2011.[51][52] Galliano's lawyer argued that the "series of public outbursts during which he uttered racist and anti-Semitic insults in a Paris café" were the result of "work-related stress and multiple addictions."[53]

On 8 September 2011, Galliano was found guilty of making antisemitic remarks and sentenced to a total of €6,000 in suspended fines.[54]

Subsequent legal action[edit]

On 21 November 2013, the Paris Court of Appeals rejected an appeal by Christian Dior Couture SA, which was seeking to move the case to a commercial court from the Conseil de prud’hommes (Labour Court) and ordered Christian Dior Couture SA and John Galliano SA each to pay Galliano €2,500 and court costs.[53] Galliano had been "seeking compensation in the range of 6 million euros".[53]


Personal life[edit]

In interviews, Galliano has given his full name as Juan Carlos Antonio Galliano-Guillén.[1] He had a relationship with fellow Central St Martins student and fashion designer John Flett (1963–1991), whom he described as his soulmate.[59] Galliano currently shares his Paris home with his long-term partner Alexis Roche, a style consultant.[59][60] He is vegetarian for health reasons, telling French Elle that "The energy that I get from having fewer toxins in my body is extraordinary."[61]


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  2. ^ David James Smith, "The Secret Torments of Galliano", Sunday Times Magazine, 22 August 2011, p. 20, at p. 27: "I ordered his birth certificate from the Gibraltar registry and in fact he was named John Charles Galliano".
  3. ^ White, Belinda (15 April 2011). "John Galliano sacked from his eponymous label". The Telegraph. London. Archived from the original on 11 June 2012. Retrieved 15 May 2012.
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  8. ^ a b c d Gibbons, Katie (2 March 2011). "ELL profiles the world's most hated fashion man". Eastlondonlines. Retrieved 1 September 2022.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
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  10. ^ McQuillan, Deirdre (22 February 2015). "John Galliano and Alexander McQueen: designers' lives seedily needled". The Irish Times. Retrieved 14 January 2023.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
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  14. ^ [1] Archived 29 March 2014 at the Wayback Machine
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  33. ^ "OTB Announcement" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 18 October 2014. Retrieved 27 September 2015.
  34. ^ Friedman, Vanessa (2 December 2014). "Anna Wintour Wears Margiela by John Galliano: The Message and the Dress". The New York Times. Retrieved 27 September 2015.
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  54. ^ "Designer Galliano sentenced in anti-Semitism case". Archived from the original on 5 October 2012. Retrieved 13 June 2013.
  55. ^ "Supplement No. 1, (Queen's Birthday Honours)". London Gazette. 16 June 2001. p. 24 of 50. Retrieved 13 June 2013. John Charles Galliano, Fashion Designer. For services to the fashion industry.
  56. ^ "Home > News > UK > This Britain The pink list 2007: The IoS annual celebration of the great and the gay". The Independent on Sunday. London. 6 May 2007. Archived from the original on 7 September 2008. Retrieved 30 January 2011.
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  59. ^ a b Sischy, Ingrid (July 2013). "Galliano in the Wilderness". Vanity Fair. Retrieved 30 June 2015.
  60. ^ Fox, Imogen (1 June 2015). "The lowdown on Amal Clooney's new stylist (and yes, he is John Galliano's boyfriend)". The Guardian. Retrieved 30 June 2015.
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External links[edit]

Preceded by Head Designer Givenchy
Succeeded by
Preceded by Head Designer Christian Dior
Succeeded by