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The Fashion World Reacts To John Galliano's Anti-Semitic Rant

Wed, March 2, 2011 12:14pm EDT by Katrina Mitzeliotis 1 Comment

Everyone in the industry, from Dior spokewoman Natalie Portman to Karl Lagerfeld, is passionately reacting to John Galliano’s rant that led to his demise at Dior.

Paris Fashion Week is underway and rather than focus on the runways, the industry is dealing with the shock of John Galliano‘s swift termination from Dior and his disgraceful anti-Semitic rant. Although the Christian Dior show will still go on on Mar. 4, the status of the John Galliano show is still unknown. New reports claim pressure from the industry, drugs, and drinking could be behind the erratic behavior, and insiders have candidly spoken out about Galliano’s behavior.

While most industry insiders have spoken out with mixed emotions, Chanel’s Karl Lagerfeld is outraged. “I’m furious, if you want to know. I’m furious that it could happen, because the question is no longer even whether he really said it. The image has gone around the world. It’s a horrible image for fashion, because they think that every designer and everything in fashion is like this,” Lagerfeld said. “This is what makes me crazy in that story.”

He went on to say, “The thing is, we are a business world where, especially today, with the Internet, one has to be more careful than ever, especially if you are a publicly known person. You cannot go in the street and be drunk — there are things you cannot do. I’m furious with him because of the harm he did to LVMH and [chairman and ceo] Bernard Arnault, who is a friend, and who supported him more than he supported any other designer in his group, because Dior is his favorite label. It’s as if he had his child hurt.”

Designer Roberto Cavalli is in disbelief. “I don’t believe [it]. Because I know John since many years, he’s such a wonderful person. I can’t believe that he makes some racist [comments] toward somebody, because he’s so international . . I don’t want to judge anybody, but I love John and John, I am with you.”

Giorgio Armani said, “I’m very very sorry for him. It’s obviously a difficult time for him. I am also very sorry that they videotaped him without him knowing.”

Model Chanel Iman told exclusively, “I love John Galliano. I’ve been working with him for years and he is one of the most amazing, genius men in this business. He is one of the most creative, genius designers that I’ve worked with and he’s so open to all types of people. He’s loving and he’s caring and I wish him all the best.”

Stefano Gabbana of Dolce & Gabbana tweeted, “I’m so sorry for John Galliano!!!”

Patricia Field described the controversial video as “farce” and came to Galliano’s defense saying, “People in fashion, all they do is go and see John Galliano theater every season. That’s what he gives them. To me, this was the same,” she said. “But people in fashion don’t recognize the farce in it. All of a sudden they don’t know him. But it’s OK when it’s Mel Brooks’ ‘The Producers’ singing ‘Springtime for Hitler.’ ” Field said Galliano was “acting out a character.”

Alexandra Shulman, editor in chief of British Vogue, recognized his talent — and the severity of his behavior. “I think Galliano made a terrible mistake and such offensive behavior could not be ignored. It is all the same true that he has a huge talent and has contributed enormously to the resurrection of the house of Dior,” she said.

Editor in chief of Vogue Italia, Franca Sozzani said, “I am against and I condemn any kind of racism or any behavior that shows disrespect toward any religion.” She also lashed out on the people responsible for the video of Galliano, drunk and slurring. “If you are truly fighting with someone, you don’t have time to pick up a mobile phone, turn on the video giggling and mockingly film what he is saying. I’m just as disgusted by these people who saw what state John was in and took advantage of the situation by trading on his name and notoriety. While I condemn John’s words, I think they were said in a certain moment when he wasn’t lucid. I am frightened by how quick these young people were to try to gain notoriety or money while destroying the image of a genius.”

Katrina Mitzeliotis