For a man who's so famous for how brilliantly he expresses himself through fashion, John Galliano is not communicating well, to put it mildly.
Today's New York Post cover: The former Dior designer wearing what looks uncannily like Orthodox Jewish garb, walking around New York City en route to Oscar de la Renta's studio (as everyone knows, Galliano contributed to ODLR's Fall 2013 collection).
So let's see: his long dark jacket and hat aren't in themselves necessarily Hasidic-inspired, but the fact that he styled his "look" with payot, those curly sidelocks is 1) unmistakably referencing Orthodox Jewish garb 2) offensive 3) insane.
If you need a refresher, after getting drunk a few times in some Paris cafes in 2011, Galliano went on a couple hateful rants: First, a couple brought charges against the designer, alleging he said things like, "Dirty Jewish face, you should be dead," and "F*cking Asian bastard, I will kill you." A week later, a video of the designer saying, "I love Hitler," etc., as part of a different drunken rant surfaced on the Internet. Galliano was fired from his job both at Dior and at his eponymous label, John Galliano, and tried and convicted for racism in French courts. Many designers and fashion industry bigwig-y types came to his defense. He went to rehab and then came out. At Anna Wintour's urging, de la Renta took Galliano into his studio this season as part of a larger effort to help the former Dior designer revive his career.
I've made no secret of my belief that John Galliano should not be able to have the same kind of high profile, glamorous career he once enjoyed. I don't believe anti-Semitism and racism are a common side-effect of drunkenness or alcoholism or addiction, and I don't think society should have room in its upper levels for people that say, "I love Hitler," or, "F*ucking Asian bastard, I will kill you," even when drunk. Some of our readers have made the extent to which they don't agree with me exhaustingly clear. That's fair and everything, but Galliano is running around New York City styled with payot after being convicted for racism and expressing his love for Hitler. I can't believe I ever thought he might not deserve a second chance.
As much as I don't believe in a Galliano comeback, I'm still blindsided by his appearance yesterday. There are 2.2 million Jews in NYC, more than a quarter of the city's eight million population. What was he thinking? The Post fashion critic suggests that he's trying to "connect" with the Jewish community ("just his way of making amends"), but as Brooklyn Assemblyman Dov Hikind put it in the tabloid's cover story: “If it was just anyone else, I wouldn’t know what to say. But considering who this guy is, considering his background and what he’s said in the past, let him explain it to all of us: Are you mocking us?” Yeah please explain.