Here’s to hoping that John Galliano’s latest attempt at career resuscitation will fare better than his cancelled master class series at Parsons: The New School for Design. The disgraced designer, whose 2011 anti-Semitic remarks had him fired from the helm of Christian Dior as well as his own namesake label, sat down for a revealing profile with Ingrid Sischy for July’s issue of Vanity Fair—his first interview since the infamous outburst. Posting a preview of the article to its website on Tuesday, Vanity Fair says that the piece will discuss “beatings and childhood taunting; his fashion education and the development of his eye; and how being ‘a slave’ to his success led [Galliano] down a path of addiction.”
As detailed in the article preview, Galliano, now 52 years old, told Sischy that his addictions to drugs and alcohol had gotten out of hand. “I was going to end up in a mental asylum or six feet under,” he said. Galliano claims that his rants, which famously ended up on YouTube, were the byproduct of intensive anger caused by both his additions and creative strife. “I now realize I was so fucking angry and so discontent with myself that I just said the most spiteful thing I could,” the designer said of his anti-Semitic statements.
Gallliano says that his lifestyle at the time of his offensive comments was not normal. “I lived in a bubble, I would be backstage and there would be a queue of five people to help me. One person would have a cigarette for me. The next person would have the lighter. I did not know how to use the A.T.M.”
He turned to drugs and alcohol, he says, to deal with the pressures of overseeing so many collections. “I would use [alcohol] to crash after the collections,” he told Sischy. “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.” His alcohol addiction led to prescription drug abuse. “Then the pills kicked in because I couldn’t sleep,” he said. “Towards the end, it was whatever I could get my hands on.”
Vanity Fair reports that executives at Christian Dior’s parent company LVMH tried to intervene in Galliano’s abuses at least twice. The article preview says that Dior CEO Sidney Toledano took Galliano to lunch to talk about his vices and urge the designer to get help. Sischy reports that “Galliano turned the tables and suggested that Toledano should change his diet and eat more healthily.” LVMH boss Bernard Arnault even got involved, asVanity Fair writes: he “told Galliano he was going to die if he didn’t do something about his problem.” In response, Galliano reportedly “tore off his shirt to reveal a gym-toned torso and asked ‘Does this look like the body of an alchoholic?’”
While checked into a rehab facility in 2011, Galliano hewed to a strict set of rules. When his first two-minute phone call privilege was allowed, the designer phoned Bill Gaytten (his longtime right-hand man, who had taken over his responsibilities at the John Galliano label) just before the Galliano fashion show in the hopes of telling the models what characters they should take on in their runway walk (a theatrical tradition that Galliano’s shows were famous for). According to Galliano, the phone call did not go well. “Bill said, ‘Do you realize what you’ve fucking done?’” he told Sischy. “And I said, ‘Kind of.’ But I still didn’t…And those were the last words we shared. That’s someone I’ve known for 30 years. Even now I’m still learning every day how many people I hurt.”