The fashion world is buzzing with the news that disgraced designer John Galliano has been invited to spend time with Oscar de la Renta at his design studio in New York for the next three weeks. The time frame incorporates de la Renta’s preparation for New York Fashion Week, the American Fashion industry’s main event.
Two years ago, Galliano’s anti-Semitic rants in a Paris café, which included, “I love Hitler,” went viral, costing him his prestigious job as creative director at Christian Dior. In a statement released by de la Renta, Galliano said, “I am an alcoholic. Several years prior to my sobriety, I descended into the madness of the disease. I said and did things, which hurt others, especially members of the Jewish community. I have expressed my sorrow privately and publicly for the pain which I caused, and I continue to do so.”
For his part, de la Renta, an elder statesman in the fashion world, is forgiving. “Everyone in life deserves a second chance, especially someone as talented as John. I think that life is about forgiving and helping people…. I think John is doing all the right things, “ he told Women’s Wear Daily. “John and I have known each other for many years and I am a great admirer of his talent,” de la Renta said in his statement. “He has worked long and hard on his recovery and I am happy to give him the opportunity to reimmerse himself in the world of fashion….,”
Surprisingly, the Anti-Defamation League, supports de la Renta’s move. Abraham H. Foxman, ADL’s national director told WWD, “We believe that individuals can change their hearts and minds as long as they demonstrate true contrition.” According to Foxman, during his recovery, Galliano met with the ADL and “accepted full responsibility for his previous remarks.”
Galliano’s role at de la Renta is undefined. Widely considered one of fashion’s most creative and talented names, he said, “I am grateful to Oscar beyond words for inviting me to spend time with him in the familiar surroundings of a design studio,” said Galliano. “His support and fatih in me is humbling.” As for speculation that de la Renta is grooming him to take over his fabled fashion house? “Certainly not,” he told WWD. I hope to be around for a long time.”