John Galliano comeback couture collection to get London debut
John Galliano, the British designer whose return to fashion was to be the highlight of the Paris shows in January, will present his debut couture collection for the French fashion house Maison Margiela in London instead of Paris, a spokesperson said Wednesday.
Galliano, 54, widely regarded as one of the most brilliant fashion minds of his generation, was sacked by Dior in March 2011 over an anti-Semitic tirade in a Paris bar.
"John Galliano's first 'Artisanal' haute couture collection for Maison Margiela will be exceptionally presented in London on January 12, around tea time," the company told AFP without elaborating.
"The choice of this location for John's first show is both personal -- going back to his formative years and his beginnings in the industry -- and it is intrinsically related to the city's traditional tailoring history and heritage," it added.
The flamboyant designer has kept a low profile since his sacking and subsequent conviction by a French court for anti-Semitism over his outbursts in a bar in Paris's historic Jewish quarter, where he hurled abuse at other customers.
One rant captured in a mobile phone recording caused particular outrage but the designer was spared jail after the court accepted that he was sorry for his actions, which he blamed on drink and drugs.
Galliano, who spent nearly 15 years at Dior, was seen as the driving force behind Dior's 700 million euro ($880 million) annual profits at the height of his time there.
Announcing his appointment as Maison Margiela creative director in October, Renzo Rosso, whose OTB group controls Margiela, described him as "one of the greatest undisputed talents of all time".
Galliano underwent treatment for drug and alcohol abuse at an Arizona rehabilitation centre following the scandal.
He later told a magazine he had been sickened to see the video evidence against him, insisting he was baffled by his drunken utterances.
"It's the worst thing I have said in my life, but I didn't mean it... I have been trying to find out why that anger was directed at this race (the Jewish people)," he told Vanity Fair magazine.
"I now realise I was so... angry and so discontent with myself that I just said the most spiteful thing I could."
Following his fall from grace, Galliano was almost entirely absent from fashion, apart from a three-week designer-in-residence role at Oscar de la Renta's workshop in New York in 2013.
Then in May 2014, he reappeared in Moscow as the creative director of Russian cosmetics chain L'Etoile.
Maison Margiela said Galliano's collection would also be shown by appointment during the Paris couture shows from January 25 to 31.
Haute couture, worn by the world's richest women, is an exclusive branch of the fashion industry.
A legally protected appellation in France, haute couture is subject to strict criteria, such as the amount of work carried out by hand and the size of the fashion house's workforce.
© 2014 AFP