“Fifty lives in one! “, this is how John Galliano designates his. At 60, the former enfant terrible of British fashion has indeed experienced several moults. Born in Gibraltar, raised in London, he graduated from the prestigious Central Saint Martins School in 1984. Over the next decade he was one of the foremost fashion hopefuls. His theatrical and flamboyant creations brought him to Paris in 1995 at Givenchy, before taking the artistic direction of the Dior house in 1996. It is in this Parisian setting that his personality blossoms through grandiose collections, served by parades no less spectacular.
In 2011, it is the fall. He is filmed on the terrace of a Parisian cafe, uttering insults of an anti-Semitic and racist nature, for which he will be fined 6,000 euros, and dismissed from his duties at Dior. “Anti-Semitism and racism have no place in our society. I apologize unreservedly if my conduct could have offended ”, he told AFP a few days after the incident. He admits his addictions to alcohol and drugs, does his mea culpa in the media, heals himself and withdraws for three years. Renzo Rosso offered him in 2014 the position of artistic director of Maison Margiela, acquired in 2002. A saving return for him, who has lost none of his dramatic talent.
We meet him in the premises of the brand, a former convent of the 11e district of Paris. Dressed soberly in Bermuda shorts and a dark sweater, John Galliano, who has rare words, shows some signs of nervousness. Around him, an office in his image, baroque and lyrical. On the walls painted black, large photos – one of Keith Richards by Peter Lindbergh, another by Kurt Cobain – or even his student sketches.
You present your Artisanal collection through a film created with the filmmaker Olivier Dahan. Did you enjoy the exercise?
I had to accept that the way we were going to present our collections during this pandemic was bound to be different. It was important for me and for the teams to move forward. This film emphasizes everything that Maison Margiela represents stylistically, but also the artisan side of our creative process. I like the idea of sharing this with the younger generation.
Your collections and shows have always been built from a story. The film is an ideal medium for this …
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