The First John Galliano Interview: 'My Assistant Told Me About The Video. When I Saw It, I Threw Up.'
(Getty Images) John Galliano in 2007 in New York City
"It's the worst thing I have said in my life, but I didn't mean it," Dior Artistic Director John Galliano tells Ingrid Sischy in his first-ever interview since his fall from grace in 2011. "I have been trying to find out why that anger was directed at this race. I now realize I was so fucking angry and so discontent with myself that I just said the most spiteful thing I could."
Since Galliano's angry, anti-Semitic outburst two years ago—which was captured on video—a lot of things have changed for the then-much-heralded designer. He was indicted, convicted, and fined in French court for anti-Semitism, went through an extensive course of rehabilitation in Arizona, was hired and pre-emptively un-hired from a teaching position at Parsons, and took up a temporary residency in the studio of Oscar de la Renta in the run-up to New York Fashion Week earlier this year.
In the July issue of Vanity Fair, contributing editor Ingrid Sischy scores the first-ever interview will Galliano since, well, everything went down. The designer, she reports, has been sober for more than two years—this is the first sober interview Galliano has ever given, she says—and the designer tells her that had he continued down the path he was following, "I was going to end up in a mental asylum or six feet under.
Here are some of the best bits from the interview.
On two years sober: "It sounds bizarre, but I am so grateful for what did happen. I have learned so much about myself. I have re-discovered that little boy who had the hunger to create, which I think I had lost. I am alive."
On how he slipped into addiction: "I never drank in order to be creative, or to do the research. I didn't need alcohol for any of that. 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. Then the pills kicked in because I couldn't sleep. Then the other pills kicked in because I couldn't stop shaking. I would also have these huge bottles of liquor that people got for me. Towards the end, it was whatever I could get my hands on. Vodka, or vodka-and-tonic. Wine, in the belief it would help me sleep. Wrong. I did manage to stop the voices. I had all these voices in my head, asking so many questions, but I never for one second would admit I was an alcoholic. I thought I could control it."
On the fashion bubble: "What had started as self-expression turned into a mask. 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 ATM."
On the first signs he had a problem: "Not having washed, I'd be covered in sores and humiliated. I had the tremors. I wouldn't sleep for five days. I would go to bookstores and get some self-help books, but I was in denial. I'd throw myself back into the gym. I'd be careful about what I ate. And, of course, the whole cycle would start again."
On not remembering the night it all happened: "When everyone came over to tell me that I had done these terrible things, I was walking round and round and round not really knowing what had gone down. My assistant told me about the video. When I saw it, I threw up. The feeling was like I was about to take a step out onto the street and a bus or truck whooshed past me and the blood was drained from my legs. I was paralyzed from the fear."
On designing Kate Moss' wedding gown: "Creating Kate's wedding dress saved me personally because it was my creative rehab. She dared me to be me again."