Falling before our eyes…

It started with Mel Gibson, or maybe it was Britney Spears?  Of late, stars seem to be falling from the sky, as they find themselves in compromising situations.  And the latest is Mr. John Galliano, of the house of Dior.

If you haven’t yet heard, Mr. Galliano was in a French cafe, when he was caught on camera lambasting the couple sitting at the next table.  He says it was the couple who started the incident when they made unsolicited remarks towards him and tried to hit him with a chair, because of what he was wearing and the way he looked. Mr. Galliano then, allegedly, turned to the couple and made anti-Semitic comments, which are considered a serious offence in France.  Any attack or insult, including verbal, against a person due to their origin, religion, race or ethnicity is punishable by up to six months of jail time and a $31,000 fine.

Mr. Galliano joined Dior, under the LVMH umbrella, in 1996, where he produced highly reviewed shows, launching the house into the headline.  Always known for his showmanship, incredible flamboyance and being one of the French Fashion Week highlights for the past 20 years, he also launched a collection of clothes under his own name.  The line was set to show tomorrow, Sunday, but has been downgraded from a show to a presentation, where it is expected that the designer will not be in attendance.

On Friday (a week ago), the fashion house made a decision to suspend the designer and then eventually dismissed him entirely on Tuesday.  Perhaps the deal was sealed when Natalie Portman, the face of Dior Cherie, denounced him publicly after not wearing Dior to the Oscars the previous evening. As a Jewish woman, she stated that she wanted nothing to do with him in any way.

Then came the Parisian Ready-to-Wear shows, where Dior was set to show. The show must go on, and it did, but many were left wondering 1) What of the fashions shown had Galliano’s touch and 2) where was the bright make-up and wonderous touches usually seen at the over-the-top Dior show? The presence of the missing designer was felt, and CEO Sidney Toledano took the runway to make a statement before the show. “It has been deeply painful to see the Dior name associated with the disgraceful statements attributed to its designer, however brilliant he may be,” he said. “Such statements are intolerable because of our collective duty to never forget the Holocaust and its victims, and because of the respect for human dignity that is owed to each person and to all people.”

So, what happens now? Some insiders predict that Riccardo Tisci, who has won praise for his work at Givenchy, will take Mr. Galliano’s place at Dior.  Both Givenchy and Dior are owned by mega luxury conglomerate LVMH, under Bernard Arnault. Others feel that he will be replaced by one of the top lieutenants at the Dior company, one who was coming up underneath Mr. Galliano and showed potential.  Once a new talent is named to the house, many Parisian fashion insiders feel that the cabinet will be cleaned, and new talent will be brought in.  While the creative team will be replaced, the “petite mains,” those who make the couture fashions, will most likely remain, as it’s been said it’s hard to find talent to physically create the collections (these atelier workers are solely responsible for the physical creation itself).  As far as the Galliano label, we’ll have to wait and see.  Most likely, the collection will be dropped from the label, as the name is sure to be linked to these incidents indefinitely.

It’s never been a substance or an addiction that has caused stars to fall.  Kate Moss bounced back. Robin Williams is still on top. How many times have we let Lindsey Lohan falter and yet she still stands? But, every recognizable face who has taken a shot at someone else, via words, more specifically anti-semitic, have had a hard time getting back up and redeeming their image in the public eye. Stay tuned to see if this case is any different!

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