Police grill Dior's Galliano on racism charges

Mon Feb 28, 2011 3:33pm EST
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By Astrid Wendlandt and Nick Vinocur

PARIS (Reuters) - John Galliano's future at Christian Dior looked uncertain on Monday as police questioned the British fashion designer over accusations that he hurled racist abuse at people in a Paris bar.

One of the world's top designers and known for his dramatic shows and flamboyant style, Galliano was suspended by Dior on Friday hours after a couple complained that he shouted racist and anti-Semitic insults at them while out drinking in Paris's hip Marais district.

His lawyer said Galliano, who lives in Paris, denies making racist or anti-Semitic comments. But speculation about his future heightened after a new complaint was lodged about a similar incident in October.

Galliano ignored questions on Monday as he strode through a crowd of reporters outside a police station in central Paris, his face largely hidden by a wide-brimmed black hat as he emerged from a car. He was inside for more than five hours.

On the way out he briefly lost his hat as he was mobbed by a crowd of TV cameras, but still refused to comment.

Thursday's bar incident happened just eight days before Galliano was due to present Dior's new women's ready-to-wear collection at Paris Fashion Week.

Many fashion insiders fear Dior may have to part ways for good with Galliano, its creative director since 1996.

"I think the situation is not tenable for Dior," said Muriel Piaser, head of the bi-annual Parisian fashion trade show.   Continued...

<p>Fashion designer John Galliano (C) and his lawyer Stephane Zerbib (L) arrive for a hearing at a police station in Paris February 28, 2011. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes</p>