John Galliano speaks in new documentary: Gibraltar designer, 63, apologises for vile anti-Semitic comments after mounting comeback this year

A NEW documentary will showcase the rapid rise and fall of controversial Gibraltarian fashion designer John Galliano.

High and Low: John Galliano, directed by Academy Award-winning Scot Kevin Macdonald, coincides with the enigmatic and flawed Galliano’s attempts to revive his career following a catwalk comeback in Paris this year which was received by a five-minute standing ovation and rapturous praise from critics. 

In 2010, Galliano was fired from his prestigious role as creative director at Dior following a drunken racist and anti-semitic rant towards a group of Jewish women in the French capital.

A video quickly surfaced of the outburst, in which Galliano screamed “I love Hitler” and told the shocked women: “People like you would be dead. Your mothers, your forefathers would all be f***ing gassed”.

The enigmatic enfant terrible of Gibraltar, John Galliano

The 116-minute feature film, available in UK cinemas from March 8, features a candid interview with 63-year old Galliano reflecting on his struggles with alcohol and substance abuse.

In 2007, Galliano lost his close friend and colleague Steven Robinson after he was found dead in a Paris apartment with over seven grams of cocaine in his system, breaking the heart of the already-struggling fashion genius.

Addictions to alcohol, valium and sleeping pills culminated in the high-profile racist attack from which he was subsequently cancelled and temporarily exiled from the catwalk.

Galliano (right), pictured with his boyfriend on holiday in the south of France. Credit: Cordon Press

Sidney Toledano, the boss of Dior, speculates on-screen that Galliano’s anti-semitism may have roots in his Spanish Catholic upbringing.

Galliano was born to a Gibraltarian father and a Spanish mother in the British Overseas Territory before moving to the UK aged six, settling in south London.

While his strict Catholic parents were detested by his homosexuality, Galliano seemed destined for success following an education at Central Saint Martins, the London-based breeding ground for new fashion talent. 

He created his own eponymous label in Paris, before heading up creative design for fashion juggernauts Givenchy and Dior where he established himself as de-facto leader of the 1990s fashion vanguard movement.

Galliano was named British designer of the year four times, whilst a 2004 poll commissioned by the BBC named him as the fifth most influential person in British culture.

The documentary includes interviews with some of fashion’s leading names, including Naomi Campbell, Penelope Cruz, Anna Wintour and Kate Moss, the latter of whom fondly recalls Galliano teaching her how to stride on the catwalk with style and elegance.

Macdonald, who won an Academy Award for directing a documentary about the 1972 murder of 11 Israeli athletes by the Palestinian militant organisation Black September, said there were two reasons why he wanted to create the documentary,

The documentary includes interviews with Kate Moss, among other fashion stars. Credit: Cordon Press

“John is regarded as one of the great designers of the last hundred years. What does that actually mean in the world of fashion? What does it mean to be one of the greats?”

The director, 56, who has Jewish ancestry, also said: “We’re living in a time in which – and John is really the origin of this for me – well-known people, celebrities, are getting caught by some socially unacceptable behaviour and cancelled in one way or another. I was interested in the question of what happens to you afterwards. Is there a mechanism for forgiveness for that in society?”


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