"Are we prepared to promote conditions in which the living contact with God can be reestablished? For our lives today have become godless to the point of complete vacuity. God is no longer with us in the conscious sense of the word. He is denied, ignored, excluded from every claim to have a part in our daily life." - Alfred Delp, S.J.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Charlie Rose, John Galliano and anti-semitism...

Oh the inhumanity!

I watched Charlie Rose's - not tough, but rough - interview with John Galliano, former head designer of Dior and his own couturier.  His collections numbered up to 32 a year - each collection numbering about a 1000 items each.  That is a staggering amount of work - I think the man truly burnt himself out by the time his drunken rants about loving Hitler made it online.

Rose is tough - almost cruel in the interview.  Galliano deeply repentant and humbled.  It's been two and half years, treatment, therapy and at least 3 close friends standing by him, Anna Wintour, Oscar de la Renta, and his partner of 14 years.  If I remember correctly, Wintour more or less 'discovered' him and promoted his designs.  De la Renta's friendship makes me the happiest, because aside from Wintour, he might be the male, stable mentor needed for the now disgraced design genius.

Underneath that ugly veneer is a human being with a soul.

I once passed Galliano off as decadent and trampy, insipidly gay - though he was at his peak in the world of haute couture and the fashion industry/market.  His fall from grace strikes me as fortuitous in so far as it reveals aspects of the decadence inherent to the fashion industry, and also reveals the sort of cut throat exploitation by which the industry and its investors eats up talent, people and resources.  From the concentration-camp-style starvation of fashion models, all the way down to near slave-labor conditions of third world ready to wear clothing manufacturers; the 'Galliano story' inadvertently exposes the exploitation of the designers themselves.  I'm reminded of not only of the suicide of Alexander McQueen, but the problems Yves Saint Laurent suffered from depression and drug abuse.  It also explains why Valentino got out after his House went public.

John Galliano doesn't seek excuses for his behavior, but Charlie asked him to explain it and he tried to do so giving examples from childhood and the inhumane working schedule he submitted himself to.  Galliano obviously takes responsibility for his irresponsible behavior and actions, as well as the unfortunate consequences which resulted.  Charlie Rose, along with the world and the power brokers backing the fashion industry, seem unable to forgive the anti-Semitic diatribes made by a drunken and out of control Galliano.  The designer explained the rants came from a place of adolescent self defense and anger, striking out as he could to compensate for a sense of his own powerlessness and personal shame.  At least that is how I took it.  Personally, I suspect they were simply just the nastiest things he could think of, not emanating from any core belief.  As most know, anti-Semitic speech is hate speech around the Western world, and in France, it is a crime.  Despite being fired from Dior, losing his business, civil prosecution and public shaming, as well as treatment for addiction, therapy, recovery, etc. - Galliano remains a persona non grata - at least that is the impression I picked up from Charlie Rose.  The 'industry' rejected and abandoned him entirely - lest the de-personalized couture/prêt-à-porter business - profits - be lost.

Every wise woman builds her house: but the foolish plucks it down with her hands. - Proverbs 14:1

It strikes me as very sad - and a bit scary.  Alcohol and drugs and a vicious queen made the slurs:  Stupid, empty anti-Semitic rants from a fashion designer.  Listening to Galliano, with all the make-up, bizarre costume and pretense gone, one realizes people can change.  One understands the pain, the hurt he suffered and still does, albeit self-inflicted,  as well as other-inflicted.  I was so impressed by his humility, his submission to the extremely difficult position Charlie Rose put him in, and his sincere repentance, and expressed desire to atone,  I can't imagine the world being so cold not to forgive him and give him another chance. 

I pray for him, that his recovery leads him more deeply into the merciful love of God.  I pray he learns to no longer seek the approval of men, nor allow himself to be seduced by the illusion of success.

There but for the grace of God...


Highlights: Galliano-Rose
John Galliano Interview


  1. I have to admit- I couldn't care less about fashion and its intrigue, but I really, really appreciate your commentary here.

    1. Thanks Thom - I pretty much started out in fashion which is why I continue to pay attention to it - although I see it much differently today.

  2. Great stuff--straight from Christ's heart to your pen. In earlier centuries Galliano might have ended up a poor friar after his fall from "grace". It's not too late for him to become a saint--who knows?

    1. I hope he continues in such honesty with himself - I too think he could become very holy.

  3. A fine post, seeing beyond the surface of the story to expose the disgraceful inhumanity of the industry and of the self congratulatory Charlie, who is too taken nowadays with the admittedly great contribution he himself has made to seeing beyond the surface, despite his own flaws (sycophancy, answering for the interviewee, gross overreaching in terms of work hours),

    1. Thanks - I was very disappointed in the way Rose got on him - but you know what? Galliano's responses pretty much proved his recovery is authentic.

      I'm glad the 'disgraceful inhumanity of the industry' part got through.

  4. Well, we all screw up. Sin is sin, and just because the modern world makes more of some sins than others does not change the fact that they all cause our eternal death. It is useless to treat this man any different than you or I, really. We are all sinners. Homosexual acts, racists acts, and murder are just as sinful as rejecting God, detraction, and adultery.

    If we cannot forgive this man if he is truly sorry, we are not Christians.

  5. Most stylish Interviewer ever.. great personality...Charlie Rose


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