PARIS — John Galliano is now Russian perfumery chain L’Etoile’s creative director.
This story first appeared in the May 23, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The announcement, made Thursday night at an event in Moscow, was live-streamed on L’Etoile’s Web site under the headline “Future in Beauty.”
Afterward, the company published a press release in Russian saying the designer will create communication and brand images for the chain, plus be involved in developing makeup and accessories collections to be part of L’Etoile’s signature cosmetics brand, called L’Etoile Selection.
In the statement, Galliano called the project “a really exciting opportunity and challenge for me. I’m sure our collaboration working together will lead to the creation of new and exciting events in the world of beauty for Russian women. I believe that the results will be very beautiful and breathtaking.”
The L’Etoile event began with a dramatic film titled “2014 The Beauty Odyssey,” which was shown at the end of a long catwalk. Early on, it included a brief spot of the designer enigmatically saying: “Hello, my name’s John Galliano. It’s springtime.”
The film, a montage of images meant to represent beauty of tomorrow, was followed by a live solo dance performance and music.
A voice-over said the future of beauty cannot be accomplished alone — it needs a visionary, “someone who knows about beauty, who embodies beauty….Dear friends, I have the great honor and pleasure to introduce [to] you our new creative director, the world-acclaimed genius, the future of L’Etoile. Here is John Galliano.”
The designer appeared onstage briefly shrouded in what looked like fog, so just his silhouette was apparent. Then came a thumping musical refrain of “John is back.”
At the end, Galliano attended a photo call.
He has quietly been working as a consultant on beauty projects with L’Etoile for the last few months, his New York-based spokeswoman confirmed earlier in May.
Galliano’s return to the spotlight was foreshadowed by L’Etoile’s Web site, whose homepage in mid-May had a faux newspaper headline proclaiming: “John Is Back!”
Then earlier Thursday, the site teased the news with the false newspaper headline “19:30 Future in Beauty,” referring to when the event would start Moscow time.
Galliano had been keeping a low profile since his stint at Oscar de la Renta ended. In January 2013, Galliano returned to the world of fashion, when de la Renta opened his studio to the designer for a three-week “residency.” The two held discussions about Galliano becoming a permanent part of the de la Renta organization, but those talks broke off months ago, sources said.
Galliano was dismissed as creative director from Dior in March 2011 after 15 years there, following a series of public outbursts during which he uttered racist and anti-Semitic insults in a Paris café. He was also ousted from the fashion house that bears his name.
L’Etoile, which opened in 1997, is the largest perfumery chain in Russia. It has 900 stores across Russia and Ukraine, which carry 150 prestige brands. The retailer boasts an offering made of 10,000 fragrance and cosmetics products from labels including Givenchy, Chanel, Sisley, Estée Lauder and Clarins.
Since June 2011, the chain has carried its own brand of makeup and accessories.