John Galliano's first interview since his 2011 firing from Christian Dior after a drunken racist and anti-Semitic tirade ended in his arrest has been published in Vanity Fair. Galliano spoke to Ingrid Sischy. Galliano says his drinking and drug use was out of control at the time of his arrest, which was followed by a conviction and fine under France's hate-speech laws. Executives at Dior and its parent company, Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy, had tried to intervene but Galliano had dismissed them. (Vanity Fair reports of one such meeting, "Galliano tore off his shirt to reveal a gym-toned torso and asked, 'Does this look like the body of an alcoholic?'") The disgraced designer says that this is, in fact, probably the first interview he's ever done sober. “I was going to end up in a mental asylum or six feet under,” he says.
"It’s the worst thing I have said in my life, but I didn’t mean it," says Galliano of the incident that cost him his livelihood, and the prior incident (caught on video) where he told another stranger, "I love Hitler." "I have been trying to find out why that anger was directed at this race. I now realize I was so fucking angry and so discontent with myself that I just said the most spiteful thing I could."
Galliano says that he had drunk so much alcohol and taken so many pills that he had no recollection of either incident until it became news. "My assistant told me about the video. When I saw it, I threw up. The feeling was like I was about to take a step out onto the street and a bus or truck whooshed past me and the blood was drained from my legs. I was paralyzed from the fear."
"Even now," says Galliano, "I’m still learning every day how many people I hurt."
Sischy and the magazine had been pursuing the story since days after the February, 2011, incident, but Galliano refused to cooperate until he felt ready. Graydon Carter then called Galliano at the rehab center where he was admitted in March; the designer again demurred. This February, when Galliano made a hesitant return to fashion via a guest residency in Oscar de la Renta's studio, Sischy reached out again, and with participation and no preconditions from Galliano, began the months-long process of interviewing the designer, addiction experts, and individuals including Kate Moss, de la Renta, Diane von Furstenberg, Elton John, Anna Wintour, Jonathan Newhouse, Naomi Campbell, Rabbi Barry Marcus of London's Central Synagogue, and Abe Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League. The full profile runs to some 8,000 words.
• The Senate Foreign Relations Committee has scheduled a hearing on labor issues in Bangladesh for Thursday. Conditions in the country's apparel sector have been highlighted due to a spate of industrial disasters, including the Tazreen factory fire that killed 112 last November and the Rana Plaza factory building collapse that took 1,129 lives, but deadly industrial incidents have been occurring in Bangladesh for years. Women's Wear Daily obtained a draft of testimony to be delivered on behalf of top American retailers including Wal-Mart and Gap Inc. who have refused to sign on to an international accord that would improve safety and labor conditions in Bangladesh, pleading fear of liability issues. According to that draft, the lawyer who will speak for Wal-Mart and Gap will argue that the international accord calls for changes that should be made not by retailers but by the Bangladeshi government, and could force retailers to accept higher prices for garments. Wal-Mart instead trumpets its own safety initiative, which is "that it will begin conducing detailed safety inspections at all 279 factories it uses in Bangladesh, will begin posting a list on its Web site of “failed factories” in Bangladesh, and will contribute $600,000 towards Labor Voices, a project that empowers workers." [WWD]
• A fit model who worked for a Manhattan apparel company for five years has sued for sexual harassment. Kimberley Lovering, the model, alleges that two executives at the garment-district company Land ’N’ Sea Distributing "commented about her body, breasts, birth control usage, boyfriend, underwear and sex life." According to the Daily News, Lovering quit the job in January after one of her bosses "tried to yank a short skirt off her body," and then both bosses punished her for reporting the incident to management. Land 'N' Sea's lawyer denies the charges. [NYDN]
• Fashionista's Tyler McCall wrote a perceptive, well-considered column in response to the bullshit "controversy" over some Internet blow-hard named Cenk Uygur, who said on YouTube that model Julia Nobis "looks like she just came out of a camp...That is not desirable. It looks disgusting." Criticizing an industry for its failure to take appropriate measures to protect the health of its most vulnerable workers is one thing — body-snarking and shaming an individual woman is quite another. [Fashionista]
• Bravo's Andy Cohen says that he wanted to come on stage at the Council of Fashion Designers of America Awards, which he hosted, wearing Beyoncé's nipple corset by the Blonds. "DVF strongly urged me not to," says Cohen. [VF]
• Greta Gerwig is now officially famous enough that when she asks to borrow designer clothes for events, they send her a size 6 instead of the typical size 0 sample. [The Cut]
• Dries van Noten says that living in Antwerp and remaining independently owned — and not selling out to a luxury conglomerate like LVMH or Kering (formerly PPR) — are the secrets to his success. "Our business doesn’t have to grow every year a huge amount like when you are a part of a big group,” says the designer. “I don’t need to have a store in every city. It’s a luxury…to be creative and be busy with things I really love and not be forced to do all the bags and the shoes and the sunglasses and things like that."[WWD]
• Charlotte Ronson is lending her name to a ceramic mug that will be sold at Starbucks for $14.95. "I’m so excited to use my cup this summer,” said Ronson. [WWD]
• Apparently, a lot of people mistake Cushnie et Ochs' Carly Cushnie and Michelle Ochs for a couple. Which they are not. "People ask if we’re sisters as well, which is unbelievable," adds Cushnie, who is black. "On a good tan day!" laughs Ochs, who is not. [Fashionista]
• Italy's financial police have closed an investigation into a Mafia money-laundering scheme that allegedly operated in the apparel-producing city of Prato. 287 suspects were rounded up in 2010. According to WWD:
According to reports, between 2006 and 2010 the suspects moved 4.5 billion euros, or about $5.8 billion at current exchange, earned off the books to China. To avoid detection, the suspects allegedly made wire transfers in relatively low amounts: many were in 1,999-euro, or $2,608, increments, just below the 2,000-euro, or $2,610, mark that sets off automatic controls at Italian banks.
• Giorgio Armani, in arguing that all Italian brands should show at Milan fashion week, got in a dig at competitor Prada:
“Someone said there was not enough time to produce two runway shows during the same week, but this is a motivation that does not [satisfy] me — I do it.”
Just a couple of weeks ago, Prada Group chief executive officer (and Miuccia Prada’s husband) Patrizio Bertelli told WWD that Miu Miu would never show in Milan simply because “it is materially impossible to create two shows a couple of days apart.” Prada added, “It’s the way we work, it’s impossible, nobody does it.”
• Today in apparel industry business news, Neiman Marcus reported a 13% year-on-year rise in quarterly profits, to $70.8 million. The department store chain is seeking either a buyer to acquire it or an I.P.O. [WWD]
• Fifth & Pacific Cos., formerly Liz Claiborne, is trying to sell two of its brands: Lucky Brand and Juicy Couture. Lucky is understood to be sought by Jos. A. Bank and the private-equity firm Advent International. Juicy is attracting buyerly attention from Authentic Brands Group, which has recently acquired Hart Schaffner Marx, Hickey Freeman, Judith Leiber, Adrienne Vittadini, and Taryn Rose, and IDG Capital Partners. [WWD]
• Nanette Lepore is also looking for an investor to help her business grow. [WWD]
• Nigeria: next hot luxury market? [BoF]
• J. Crew has signed a lease at 141 Court Street. It will be the chain's first Brooklyn store, and it's planned to open in 2014. [WWD]
• Band of Outsiders is ditching the confusing names of its women's wear sub-brands, Boy by Band of Outsiders and Girl by Band of Outsiders. (Boy was women's wear with an emphasis on masculine tailoring, Girl was, well, girlier.) From now on, everything will just be men's and women's wear Band of Outsiders. [Fashionista]
• We clicked on this article because the headline said something about Marina Abramovic and laser facials, which makes this beauty news, but frankly quoting her about anti-aging shit is boring when she says things like this:
"We think that happiness depends from that person. That person leaves, and you are completely in pain. But when you understand that actually you are the one who made the happiness and then you become the owner of your own self. And then it's so good. Right now, I've never been in a more happy moment in my life. It's the first time. I'm completely alone. No one is complaining that I'm working too much or that I am not at home. I wake up in the morning and I do whatever I want."