John Galliano said he doesn’t remember the night he went on an anti-Semitic rant that got him fired two years ago from Christian Dior, according to a Vanity Fair interview billed as the first the designer has given while sober.
Galliano said he was completely addicted to drugs and alcohol when he declared “I love Hitler” in a 2011 scene caught on videotape. But the designer doesn’t blame the addiction for the outburst and insists he’s not racist.
“It’s the worst thing I have said in my life, but I didn’t mean it... I have been trying to find out why that anger was directed at this race,” he said in a preview released Tuesday by the magazine. “I now realize I was so f---ing angry and so discontent with myself that I just said the most spiteful thing I could.”
Galliano said he only learned about making the comments after his assistant told him about it. He said when he later saw the video, “I threw up.” He then checked himself into an Arizona rehabilitation facility after realizing how out of hand his addictions had become.
“I was going to end up in a mental asylum or six feet under,” he said in the interview, his first in two years. He also posed for a magazine photo spread taken by Annie Leibovitz.
Galliano eventually sued Dior over his dismissal as the designer’s creative director, but a French court found him guilty of anti-Semitic behavior and sentenced him to pay a total of 6,000 Euros ($8,400) in suspended fines.
He has since resisted speaking about that period of his life. Last month, Parsons The New School of Design even cancelled a master class Galliano was to teach because he refused to hold a “frank discussion of his career,” including the circumstances leading to his dismissal.
According to the Vanity Fair article, executives at Dior’s parent company, LVMH, tried to intervene at least twice. LVMH boss Bernard Arnault even warned Galliano he would die if he didn’t address his addiction. Galliano reportedly responded by tearing off his shirt “to reveal a gym-toned torso and asked ‘Does this look like the body of an alchoholic?’”
Galliano said he slowly slipped into addiction as his work load handling an increasing number of collections began to grow.
“I never drank in order to be creative, or to do the research. I didn’t need alcohol for any of that,” he said. “At first alcohol was like a crutch outside of Dior. Then I would use it to crash after the collections. I’d take a couple of days to get over it, like everyone. But with more collections, the crash happened more often, and then I was a slave to it.”
A turning point in Galliano’s recovery came when model Kate Moss asked him to design her wedding dress, something they had discussed when he was still at Dior.
“Creating Kate’s wedding dress saved me personally because it was my creative rehab. She dared me to be me again,” he said.
The article includes interviews with Moss, as well as other friends and former colleagues of Galliano, including Oscar de la Renta, Diane von Furstenberg, Elton John, Anna Wintour and Naomi Campbell. The article also spoke with the head of the Anti-Defamation League and members of the Jewish community.