IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Designer Galliano sentenced in anti-Semitism case

After finding the disgraced fashion designer guilty of anti-Semitic behavior in two complaints, a French court fined him a total of 6,000 Euros Thursday in a suspended sentence.
/ Source: TODAY staff and wire

Disgraced former Christian Dior designer John Galliano has been sentenced to pay a total of 6,000 Euros ($8,400) in suspended fines after a French court found him guilty of anti-Semitic behavior.

The charges, that he spewed anti-Semitic insults in a bar, cost the fashion icon his job as Dior's creative director and roiled the fashion world.

Galliano was charged for "public insults based on origin, religious affiliation, race or ethnicity" stemming from two separate incidents at the Paris watering hole.

Galliano did not attend Thursday's proceedings.

The designer was present at his trial, looking like a shadow of his flamboyant self, and told the three-judge panel he was sorry "for the sadness that this whole affair has caused."

After nearly 15 critically acclaimed and commercially successful years at Dior, the Briton's brilliant career flamed out after a couple alleged he accosted them while they were having a drink on the terrace of Paris' hip La Perle cafe on Feb. 24.

The incident made headlines worldwide, and another woman soon came forward with similar claims about an earlier incident in the same cafe. Days later, British tabloid The Sun posted an amateur video showing a visibly drunk Galliano insulting a fellow cafe client, slurring: "I love Hitler."

As the video went viral, Dior took swift and decisive action against the man it had long treated as a sort of demigod, sacking Galliano days before the label's fall-winter 2011 runway show in March. He was also ousted from his eponymous label, which is owned by Dior's parent company.

In extensive and often-moving testimony at the June trial, Galliano said he had been under the influence of alcohol and prescription drugs and couldn't recall the incidents in question.

He said he'd done a stint in a rehab clinic in Arizona and was recovering from addictions to alcohol, sleeping pills and barbiturates — habits he blamed on the pressures of the high-stakes fashion industry.

The 50-year-old, born Juan Carlos Galliano to a Spanish mother in the British enclave of Gibraltar, rejected any suggestion he was fundamentally racist, saying his multi-cultural influences spoke for themselves. He culled inspiration for his extravagant, theatrical collections from cultures as far-flung as Kenya's Masai people and the geishas of Japan.

Regardless of the court's decision later Thursday, many in the fashion industry regard the damage as done. Galliano was replaced at his signature label by his longtime right-hand man and fellow Briton, Bill Gaytten, in June. Gaytten was also behind the Dior haute couture collection presented the following month to disastrous reviews.

Ooh la odd! Crazy couture

Slideshow  28 photos

Ooh la odd! Crazy couture

From Jean-Charles de Castelbajac to John Galliano, see designers’ conceptual creations on the Paris Fashion Week runway.

Rumors about Galliano's possible successor have swirled for months, with Lanvin's Alber Elbaz, Givenchy's Riccardo Tisci and emerging Colombian-born star Haider Ackermann emerging as possible contenders. A report last month in fashion trade newspaper Women's Wear Daily cited unnamed sources as saying that New York designer Marc Jacobs is in talks for the plum gig. Neither Jacobs nor Dior or parent company LVMH would comment.

It remains to be seen whether Galliano will manage to rehabilitate his image and make a comeback, much as supermodel Kate Moss did after images of her taking cocaine hit newspapers. Many industry insiders are betting against it.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.