In the wake of allegations that fashion designer John Galliano uttered anti-Semitic remarks at patrons of a Parisian cafe last week (a video from months earlier show him telling someone "I love Hilter"), the fashion world has been brimming with observations and condemnations. Fellow successful designer Karl Lagerfeld was unsparing in his comments to WWD, "I’m furious, if you want to know. I’m furious that it could happen, because the question is no longer even whether he really said it. The image has gone around the world. It’s a horrible image for fashion, because they think that every designer and everything in fashion is like this. This is what makes me crazy in that story."

Lagerfeld also added, "The thing is, we are a business world where, especially today, with the Internet, one has to be more careful than ever, especially if you are a publicly known person. You cannot go in the street and be drunk — there are things you cannot do. I’m furious with him because of the harm he did to [Christian Dior's parent company] LVMH and [chairman and ceo] Bernard Arnault, who is a friend, and who supported him more than he supported any other designer in his group, because Dior is his favorite label. It’s as if he had his child hurt."

Galliano, who has denied (yet also apologized) the remarks, was fired from his position at Christian Dior and faces prosecution for the remarks. NY Times fashion critic Cathy Horyn looks at the arc of Galliano's career, " The only show I have ever stood to applaud was a Galliano show, six or seven years ago. He used a special casting of sideshow performers — twins, fat people, exceptionally tall people, freaks in most people’s eyes — and he closed the show with a supermodel dangling a puppet in his likeness. The manipulated designer." The New Yorker's Michael Specter, who wrote about Galliano in 2003, lamented:

Galliano is a deeply talented man, and his early shows helped set fashion on a course it has followed for years, turning the business into a celebrity cult. But his career, and his life, were built on twin pillars of excess and exhibitionism. He was a slave to addiction; those addictions rotated through the years: drugs, sex, alcohol, exercise, and finally, and most damagingly, his own public image. But who could be shocked at his behavior? Who would have expected any other end? (If it is the end: the fashion world has a remarkable ability to shrug off the odd deeply flawed human being, as long as he or she can cut a dress like Galliano can or wear one like Kate Moss, who, despite behavior that sets a disastrous example for millions of girls, including issues with drugs, is forgiven because, well, she is really very pretty.)

The recipe is getting old: take a savant, somebody who plays golf better than any other human, or can cut on the bias, or throws a lot of touchdown passes, and surround him with sycophants and barrels full of money. Praise everything he says or does no matter how solipsistic or selfish. And what do you get? Exactly what the adoring public deserves. Even Galliano’s drug abuse was seen by many of the most prominent people in fashion as an adorable foible, like wearing a monocle or writing with a fountain pen. “Oh, that’s just John,” one of France’s better known fashion people once told me. “Obsessive indulgence is his thing.”


And writer Michael Gross offered up a 1987 profile he did of Galliano (PDF), noting the article starts at "a late-night party in the then-downtrodden Notting Hill section of London where we all indulged in more than a bit of drinking."

The Christian Dior show is still scheduled to show in Paris tomorrow.