John Charles Galliano CBE, RDI (born November 28, 1960) is a
Gibraltar-born British-Spanish fashion designer who was the head
designer of French fashion companies
Givenchy (July 1995 to October
Dior (October 1996 to March 2011), and his own label
John Galliano (1988 to 2011). At present, Galliano is the creative
director of Paris-based fashion house Maison Margiela.
Galliano has been named
British Designer of the Year
British Designer of the Year four times. In a
2004 poll for the BBC, he was named the fifth most influential person
in British culture.
2 Early career
6 Anti-semitic outbursts
6.1 Subsequent legal action
9 Personal life
11 External links
He was born in
Gibraltar to a Gibraltarian father, Juan Galliano, and
a Spanish mother, Anita, and has two sisters. Galliano's father was
a plumber. His family moved to England in pursuit of work when
Galliano was six, and settled in Streatham, South London, before
moving to Dulwich and later to Brockley. He was raised in a
Roman Catholic family. Galliano, who was shy and diffident,
often spoke of his struggle to fit in. Recalling his early days, he
once admitted: "I don't think people here understood where I was
coming from." His mother, a flamenco teacher, would dress him in his
"smartest" outfit even for a trip to the local shops. His attire,
combined with his creative sensibilities, caused him frequent
persecution at the London boys' grammar school he attended.
John Galliano ensemble;
Dress of the Year
Dress of the Year for 1987
After attending St. Anthony's School and
Wilson's Grammar School
Wilson's Grammar School in
London, Galliano went on to study at Saint Martin's School of Art,
from which he graduated in 1984 with a first class honours degree in
Fashion Design. His first collection was inspired by the French
Revolution and entitled Les Incroyables. The collection received
positive reviews and was bought in its entirety for resale in the
London fashion boutique Browns. Galliano then started his own fashion
label alongside long-term collaborators Amanda Harlech, at that time
stylist with Harpers and Queen, and Stephen Jones, a
On the back of this success, Galliano rented studio space in London,
but his talent was not matched by a head for business. Moreover, he
would take his enjoyment of London's nightlife to extremes.
Initially, financial backing came from Johan Brun, and when this
agreement came to an end, Danish entrepreneur Peder Bertelsen, owner
of firm Aguecheek, who were also backing
Katharine Hamnett at the
time, took over. This agreement ended in 1988 and by 1990, he was
bankrupt and, after his own London-based label failed to re-ignite his
fortunes, he moved to Paris in search of financial backing and a
strong client base. . Galliano secured the backing of Paris-based
Moroccan designer Faycal Amor (owner and creative director of fashion
label Plein Sud) who invited him to set up his base in Paris at the
Plein Sud headquarters. His first show was in 1989 as part of Paris
Media fashion celebrity
Susannah Constantine has worked for
Galliano, and he has also aided the future success of other
designers including shoe designer Patrick Cox. In 1991, he
collaborated with Kylie Minogue, designing the costumes for her Let's
Get to It Tour.
In 1993, Galliano's financial agreement with Amor ended and he did not
have a showing in October, missing the season. With the help of
American Vogue editor-in-chief
Anna Wintour and André Leon Talley,
then European Correspondent at Vanity Fair, Galliano was introduced to
Portuguese socialite and fashion patron Sao Schlumberger and financial
backers of venture firm Arbela Inc, John Bult and Mark Rice. It was
through this partnership that Galliano received the financial backing
and high society stamp needed to give him credibility in Paris. This
collection was important in the development of Galliano as a fashion
house, and is regarded as a 'fashion moment' in high fashion
In July 1995, he was appointed as the designer of
Givenchy by Bernard
Arnault, owner of luxury goods conglomerate LVMH, thus becoming the
first British designer to head a French haute couture house. On 21
January 1996, Galliano presented his first couture show at the helm of
Givenchy at the Stade de France. The collection received high praise
within the fashion media. Some of Galliano's designs
Givenchy were licensed to Vogue Patterns. He was later
replaced by Alexander McQueen.
Galliano ballgowns designed for
Dior as exhibited in Moscow, 2011
Galliano dior newspaper dress at the ROM, donated by Kara Alloway
See also: Spring 2004
Dior couture collection
In October 1996,
LVMH moved Galliano to Christian Dior, replacing
Italian designer Gianfranco Ferré. At Dior, Galliano received
critical acclaim for his Haute Couture and ready-to-wear collections.
In 2010, Galliano identified his love of theatre and femininity as
central to his creations; he said "my role is to seduce", and credited
Standard Oil heiress
Millicent Rogers as an influence.
On 25 February 2011,
Dior announced they had suspended Galliano
following his arrest over an alleged anti-Jewish tirade in a Paris
bar. The same day, Paris-based citizen journalism site Citizenside
received video of Galliano on a similar rant in the same bar the
previous December. In the video a drunk Galliano, seated at a café
table, insults a group of Italian women and declares "I love Hitler...
People like you would be dead. Your mothers, your forefathers would
all be fucking gassed." This incident happened just before the Paris
Fashion Week for Autumn/Winter 2011-12.
The show-business industry expressed mixed feelings towards the
designer's anti-semitic speech.
Natalie Portman who had an
endorsement contract with Dior, said she was "deeply shocked" by
Galliano's comments and that "these still-existing prejudices... are
the opposite of all that is beautiful." On the other hand,
another model for Dior, French actress Eva Green, said of the
incident: "Sometimes, you can make mistakes. I don't think he's
anti-semitic. I'm Jewish. I don't think he has anything against the
Jews. I think it's more that he was probably a bit drunk."
Galliano denied the allegations through his lawyer, and launched a
defamation lawsuit against the couple accusing him of
antisemitism. On 1 March 2011,
Dior announced that it had begun
procedures of dismissal for Galliano, with Dior's chief executive
Sidney Toledano stating, "I very firmly condemn what was said by John
Dior announced it will continue to support the Galliano
brand financially due to licence despite the scandal, and Bill Gaytten
John Galliano as creative director at the helm of Dior
and the Galliano brand.
In France, expressing anti-semitic ideas is illegal. It was reported
on 2 March 2011 that Galliano was to face trial in Paris for allegedly
"making racist comments to customers in a café". The trial commenced
on 22 June 2011. Galliano's lawyer argued that the "series of
public outbursts during which he uttered racist and anti-Semitic
insults in a Paris café" were the result of "work-related stress and
multiple addictions." On 8 September 2011, Galliano was found
guilty of making anti-semitic remarks and sentenced to pay a total of
€6,000 in suspended fines after a French court found him guilty of
voicing public insults on account of race.
Subsequent legal action
This section needs to be updated. Please update this article to
reflect recent events or newly available information. (December 2016)
A Paris commercial court, in March 2011, rejected a claim for damages
by Galliano’s company, Cheyenne Freedom, "following the termination
of its consultancy agreements with Christian
Dior Couture SA". The
court ordered Cheyenne Freedom to pay
Dior €1.17 million "for
hurting the company’s image and reputation".
On 21 November 2013, the Paris Court of Appeals rejected an appeal by
Dior Couture SA, which was seeking to move the case to a
commercial court from the Conseil de prud’hommes (Labour Court) and
Dior Couture SA and
John Galliano SA to each pay the
Galliano €2,500 and court costs. Galliano "is seeking
compensation in the range of 6 million euros". Jean Néret of
Jeantet Associés is representing Christian
Dior Couture SA and John
Galliano SA. Chantal Giraud-van Gaver of Coblence & Associés
represents John Galliano.
In early 2013, Galliano accepted an invitation from Oscar de la Renta,
brokered by Anna Wintour, for a temporary residency at de la Renta's
design studio to help prepare for a showing of his Fall 2013
ready-to-wear collection during February New York Fashion Week.
Galliano also received a measure of absolution from the
Anti-Defamation League, which lauded his efforts to atone for his
misdeeds and wished him well. The ADL again came to his defense
New York Post
New York Post ran a photo of him on his way to the de la
Renta show dressed in what it claimed was Hasidic-like garb.
Galliano remained backstage at the show, which received favourable
reviews amid speculation about his future, including as a
possible successor to Mr. de la Renta and that Galliano might take
up a teaching post at Parsons The New School for Design. On 12
June 2013, John Galliano's first filmed interview since his dismissal
Dior was broadcast on United States television. He
closed this conversation by stating, "I am able to create. I am ready
to create... [and] I hope through my atonement I'll be given a second
On 6 October 2014, the
OTB Group announced that
John Galliano had
Maison Margiela to take the responsibility of the creative
direction of the house, marking the designer’s return to
fashion. Just a few weeks later, on the occasion of the annual British
Fashion Awards, Galliano presented the Outstanding Achievement Award
Anna Wintour who wore Galliano's first creation for Maison Martin
Margiela, "an unambiguous fashion blessing" from the Editor in Chief
of American Vogue according to Vanessa Friedman, Fashion Director of
the New York Times.
Galliano exhibited his first couture collection for Margiela during
London Collections: Men, on 12 January 2015.
British Designer of the Year
British Designer of the Year (1987, 1994, 1995, 1997). In 1997, he
shared the award with Alexander McQueen, his successor at Givenchy.
Commander of the
Order of the British Empire
Order of the British Empire in the 2001 Birthday
Honours List for his services to the Fashion Industry as a Fashion
Designer. He received his CBE on 27 November 2001 at Buckingham Palace
in London, England.
RDI for his contribution to the fashion industry (2002).
The Independent on Sunday's 2007 "pink list" for being
one of "the most influential gay people in Britain."
French Legion of Honour
French Legion of Honour (2009). The medal was withdrawn by decree
of the president of the Republic, François Hollande, published in the
official journal on 20 August 2012.
In interviews, Galliano has given his full name as Juan Carlos Antonio
Galliano-Guillén. He had a relationship with fellow Central St
Martins student and fashion designer John Flett (1963-1991), whom
Galliano described as his "soulmate". Galliano currently shares
his Paris home with his long-term partner Alexis Roche, a style
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Wikimedia Commons has media related to John Galliano.
John Galliano at Encyclopædia Britannica
Official website of
John Galliano S.A., a company that no longer
employs Mr. Galliano
ISNI: 0000 0000 9406 2368
BNF: cb13513993p (data)
Hubert de Givenchy
Head Designer Givenchy
Head Designer Christian Dior