John Galliano Gets His Day In Court

The famed fashion designer John Galliano whose rise to the top of the fashion heap as the head designer for his own namesake brand as well as Givenchy then Christian Dior took a big stumble earlier this year that knocked him off his proverbial throne.

In December 2010 just before the Autumn/Winter 2011 shows Galliano was caught on tape making racial slurs during a drunken anti-semitic rant. The designer was relieved of his duties just after his arrest in February. From there, it’s been somewhat of a madhouse. Yesterday in Paris John Galliano had his day in court.

Though I doubt anyone would argue that the slurs were inexcusable, one of the worst parts of this story to me is the fact that once again another designer has succumbed to the bottom line pressures that life in the limelight presents…I wonder how many of those in his inner circle could have helped divert this train wreck before the car derailed?

Below are excerpts from the day from Women’s Wear Daily
PARIS — John Galliano told the High Court here today that work-related stress was among factors driving him to use a “lethal” mix of alcohol and prescription drugs.

“I couldn’t go to work without taking Valium,” said the disgraced designer, standing trial on a charge of public insult. “I loved the creative process, but all the other stuff… was too much pressure.”

He also cited an addiction to sleeping pills, which he also took during the daytime.

The acclaimed designer, 50, was ousted from Christian Dior and his signature fashion house in the wake of allegations he uttered racist and anti-Semitic insults at Paris cafes.

Wearing a dark blazer and sarouel pants, a rueful Galliano arrived in court through a side entrance, sidestepping most photographers.

He told the court he started drinking following the death in 2007 of his beloved assistant, Steven Robinson. “Steven protected me from everything,” Galliano said, his voice cracking and hands trembling. “I no longer felt protected.”

The designer also noted his workload intensified at Dior and the Galliano company, where he signed licenses for multiple categories, increasing his design duties.

The now infamous video in which Galliano can be heard saying in a slurred voice, “I love Hitler,” was screened in the packed courtroom. Reacting to the spectacle, the designer said: “I cannot answer for that man because I don’t know him. It’s the shadow of John Galliano. I see a man who’s been pushed to the edge.… I see someone who needs help, who is very vulnerable.”

Although prison sentences are rare, the penalty in France for insulting someone on the basis of their origin, religious affiliation, race or ethnicity is imprisonment of six months and a fine of 22,500 euros, or $32,390 at current exchange.

A ruling isn’t expected until after the court’s summer recess.

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