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Galliano in a soup

Designer John Galliano’s racist slur sends shockwaves through fash frat.

fashion and trends Updated: Feb 28, 2011 14:14 IST
Aaron Rohan George

Shockwaves went through the fashion world on Friday, when French fashion house Christian Dior suspended their creative director, iconic designer John Galliano, 50. The decision came soon after Galliano was arrested on Thursday in Paris, where he is said to have made anti-Jewish jeers.

Galliano, who has headed Dior for 14 years, had an altercation with a Jewish woman and her Asian boyfriend at La Perle bar in the Marais district of Paris. Witnesses say he made abusive comments about Jewish and Asian people, while some reports also say the fight got physical. He was then taken away by cops and found to be drunk, but no charges were pressed.

Zero tolerance
On Friday, Dior issued a statement saying, “We have an unequivocal zero-tolerance policy regarding anti-Semitism and racism... Galliano has been suspended pending the conclusion of a police investigation”. This happened just days before the designer showed at the Paris Fashion Week, which starts on March 1.

The incident has drawn strong reactions from India’s fashion fraternity.
“It’s awful. He’s one of the greatest design minds of the last decade but if he has said such things, he should apologise,” says designer Suneet Varma.
“I am shocked. He’s brilliant and this is very sad,” says designer Tarun Tahiliani.
“Such remarks by celebs, even in India, would trigger similar reactions, we must respect religious sentiments,” says designer Nikhil Mehra.
Those who know Galliano personally are guarded. Kalyani Saha, vice president of Christian Dior India and designer Prashant Verma, who has trained with Galliano, didn’t comment.

Natalie’s dress dilemma
Model Kate Moss picked Galliano to design her wedding dress while actor Natalie Portman was to wear his design for the Oscars. Sources say Portman is looking for a new dress now to avoid any controversy.

Who he is...
British designer John Galliano, 50, was born in Gibraltar and moved to London when he was six. He was titled British Designer of the Year four times. In 1995, he became the first British designer to head Givenchy, a French haute couture house. His first design for Christian Dior was worn by Princess Diana. He has designed for Hollywood stars such as Nicole Kidman, Charlize Theron and Kate Blanchett.

Bad boys of fashion
In 2009 designer Karl Lagerfeld was panned for saying model Heidi Klum is “simply too heavy and has too big a bust for a runway model”.
In 2009, designer Anand Jon of Indian origin, was convicted of child molestation and serial rape in the US. He was sentenced to 59 years of life in prison.