John Galliano’s family was Spanish-Gibralterian. He came to London at the age of six. He studied at St Martins School of Art, graduating in 1983. He launched his first collection under his own name in 1984.
John Galliano born in 1960 is a British fashion designer who was the head designer of French fashion companies Givenchy (July 1995 to October 1996), Christian Dior (October 1996 to March 2011), and his own label John Galliano.
Galliano studied at Saint Martin’s School of Art, from which he graduated in 1988 with a first class honours degree in Fashion Design. His first collection was inspired by the French Revolution and entitled Les Incroyables, with a music soundtrack mixed by DJ Jeremy Healy.
The collection received positive reviews and was bought in its entirety for resale in the London fashion boutique Browns. Galliano then started his own fashion label alongside long-term collaborators Amanda Harlech, at that time stylist with Harpers and Queen, and Stephen Jones, a milliner.
On the back of this success, Galliano rented studio space in London, but his talent was not matched by a head for business. Moreover, he would take his enjoyment of London’s nightlife to extremes.
Initially, financial backing came from Johan Brun, and when this agreement came to an end, Danish entrepreneur Peder Bertelsen, owner of firm Aguecheek, who were also backing Katherine Hamnett at the time, took over. This agreement ended in 1988 and Galliano sought the backing of German agent Faycal Amor (owner and designer of fashion label Plein Sud) who directed him to set up his base in Paris. Galliano relocated to Paris in search of financial backing and a strong client base. His first show was in 1989 as part of Paris Fashion Week. By 1990, he was bankrupt and, after his own London-based label failed to re-ignite his fortunes, he moved to Paris
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 Andre Leon Talley, then European Correspondent at Vanity Fair, Galliano was introduced to Portuguese socialite and fashion patron Sao 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
In July 1995, Galliano was appointed as the designer of Givenchy by Bernard Arnault, owner of luxury goods conglomerate LVMH, thus becoming the first British designer to head a French haute couture house.[On 21 January 1996, Galliano presented his first couture show at the helm of Givenchy at the Stade de France.
The same day, Paris-based citizen journalism site Citizenside received video of Galliano on a similar rant in the same bar the previous December. In the video a drunk Galliano, seated at a café table, insults a group of Italian women and declares “I love Hitler… People like you would be dead. Your mothers, your forefathers would all be fucking gassed.” This incident happened just before the Paris Fashion Week for Autumn/Winter 2011-12.
Galliano denied the allegations through his lawyer, and launched a defamation lawsuit against the couple accusing him of antisemitism. 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” Dior announced it will continue to support the Galliano brand financially due to license despite the scandal.
In France, expressing anti-semitic ideas is illegal. It was reported on 2 March 2011 that Galliano was to face trial in Paris for allegedly “making racist comments to customers in a café”. The trial commenced on 22 June 2011. 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.”
On 8 September 2011, Galliano was found guilty of making anti-Semitic remarks and sentenced to pay a total of €6,000 (US$8,400) in suspended fines after a French court found him guilty of giving public insults on account of race.
A Paris commercial court, in March 2011, rejected a claim for damages by Galliano’s company, Cheyenne Freedom, “following the termination of its consultancy agreements with Christian Dior Couture SA”. The court ordered Cheyenne Freedom to pay Dior €1.17 million “for hurting the company’s image and reputation”
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 (Labor Relations Court) and ordered Christian Dior Couture SA and John Galliano SA to each pay the Galliano €2,500 and court costs. Galliano “is seeking compensation in the range of 6 million euros”. Jean Néret of Jeantet Associés is representing Christian Dior Couture SA and John Galliano SA. Chantal Giraud-van Gaver of Coblence & Associés represents John Galliano.
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.
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. 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.
Galliano remained backstage at the show, which received favourable reviews amid speculation about his future, including as a possible successor to Mr. de la Renta and that Galliano may take up a teaching post at Parsons the New School for Design
On 12 June 2013, John 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.