Outrage propelled Galliano's rise and fall

Wed Jun 22, 2011 1:26pm EDT
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By Nick Vinocur

PARIS (Reuters) - John Galliano brought flair, vision and a touch of outrage to Dior when he joined the Parisian brand over a decade ago, keeping it in the spotlight as some other legacy fashion houses faded into quaintness.

But it was outrage off the catwalk that has destroyed his career and left his future in doubt.

In court Wednesday on charges of anti-Semitic behavior, after a series of outbursts to strangers that prompted Dior to fire him in March as its creative director, Galliano said an addiction to drugs and drinks had left him out of control.

The British designer's abrupt departure from Dior, three days before he was to present its fall-winter women's wear collection, marked the end of one of the longest-running and most successful collaborations in the world of high fashion.

His show for Christian Dior, owned by luxury group LVMH, went ahead without him, winning a standing ovation from fashion editors, store buyers, supermodels and celebrities.

Yet the sorry saga has wrecked one of the most head-turning design careers of recent decades, with Galliano spending recent weeks undergoing treatment in the United States for addiction to alcohol, valium and sleeping pills.

"I have a triple addiction," Galliano, wearing long sandy hair and trademark razor-thin mustache, told the court on Wednesday. "Alcohol, sleeping pills and Valium."

Before Dior, Galliano was already making a name with his flamboyant style, dressing stars like Kylie Minogue and Madonna.   Continued...