Fashion's rehabilitated Galliano proves himself in new job, boss says

Tue Jun 2, 2015 12:40pm EDT
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By Astrid Wendlandt

BREGANZE, ITALY (Reuters) - John Galliano, the star designer sacked by Dior for a drunken anti-Semitic rant, has been successfully rebuilding both himself and the Maison Margiela fashion brand since he took over its helm in October, said the man who gave him the job.

Diesel founder Renzo Rosso, chairman and main shareholder of Maison Margiela's parent OTB group, said sales were already up 20 percent at the fashion house even though only a few of Galliano's pieces had so far reached the shelves.

Galliano, widely hailed as one of the most talented designers of his generation, fell from grace in 2011 after a video went viral of him drunk in a Paris bar, saying "I love Hitler" and telling a couple their ancestors should have been gassed.

Galliano blamed addiction to drugs and alcohol for the rant, said the remarks did not represent his real views and went through a public period of rehabilitation sponsored by the Anti-Defamation League, a charity that fights anti-Semitism.

He emerged with a job at Oscar de la Renta in New York in 2013 before Rosso tapped him last year to take over the house founded by Martin Margiela, a designer known for being as self-effacing as Galliano is flamboyant.

"John is a real pro, I am so happy to have him," Rosso told Reuters at his company's headquarters, an hour's drive from Venice.

"He is a not a designer but a couturier and has great pyramidal thinking - turning couture concepts into ready-to-wear clothing and accessories," added the tattooed 59-year-old Italian entrepreneur.

Galliano's appointment raised eyebrows last year, not only because of his controversial past but also because of the contrast between his persona and that of Maison Margiela's reclusive founder.   Continued...

Diesel founder Renzo Rosso poses at his offices in Breganze, Italy, in this handout picture taken July 16, 2014. REUTERS/Andrea Delbo