HOT SEAT: John Galliano on Sunday made his first television appearance in France since 2011, when he was ousted as creative director of Dior and his signature fashion house for racist and anti-Semitic outbursts.
The designer appeared on the pay television channel Canal Plus’ lunchtime news program “Le Supplément” as part of his latest media campaign, which has included an interview, published in June, in the French weekly Le Point.
Galliano told presenter Maïtena Biraben that he was in the midst of a return “back into creativity,” citing his role as creative director for Russian perfumery chain L’Etoile and as a mentor to four male students at Central Saint Martins in London.
Asked if he planned to return to fashion as a designer, he demurred by saying, “Step by step.”
Earlier in the show, Galliano had watched a segment that included the infamous video in which he is shown slurring insults in a Paris café. “Terrible hat, no?” he commented at one point.
Turning serious, Galliano credited the release of the footage with saving his life.
“I would be dead [if it had not come out]. That was what you call rock bottom,” he said. “The positive thing: There’s only one way, and that’s up after that. You can’t get any lower.”
The designer repeated that he was not a racist or an anti-Semite and attributed his comments to “a defense mechanism” that he blamed on childhood trauma.
“I can’t convince everyone, and I know some people will never forgive me. I understand that. I have taken physical steps to approach people that I have upset, to apologize. That’s part of my recovery,” he said.
One of the people with whom he hopes to make amends is Bernard Arnault, chairman and chief executive officer of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton. “I’m hopeful. I hope one day to be able to visit him, explain what happened,” Galliano said.
He concluded on an optimistic note, paying homage to his partner, Alexis Roche, who has stood by him throughout, and declaring himself happier than ever.
“I mean, I had it all, and I wasn’t happy. Today, I’m happy,” said Galliano.
“Although I have lost a lot, I have gained so much. I mean, I’m alive today. I’ve been able to work on myself, and, eventually, when I do come back into the industry, I know the industry won’t have changed…but my perspective on it has changed,” he added.