PARIS — John Galliano, ousted as Dior’s couturier last month amidst mounting evidence of anti-Semitic and racist outbursts, has also been formally sacked from the fashion company that bears his name, WWD has learned.
This story first appeared in the April 15, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
According to sources, the 17-year-old firm’s board recently met and decided to eject the maverick British designer.
Meanwhile, Christian Dior SA, which owns 91 percent of the Galliano house, has received unsolicited expressions of interest in the business from several of its Italian licensing partners, including sportswear maker Ittierre SpA and Perfume Holding, sources said.
It is understood a sale of the company is not an immediate priority, and no banks have been mandated to sell it, nor has financial data been made available to interested parties, also said to include a Chinese group and a firm from the Middle East.
Enrico Ceccato, president and chief executive officer of Perfume Holding, denied interest in acquiring the Galliano business, insisting the company is dedicated to fragrances only.
Antonio Bianchi, owner of Albisetti, which now controls Ittierre, said he is discussing ways to generate new and more extensive agreements “given the optimal relationship” the company already enjoys with the Galliano house.
It is understood the in-house design team at John Galliano, which shares members with Dior’s, will be charged with producing collections at a house prized for bias-cut dresses, newspaper prints and retro-tinged tailoring. A pre-spring collection is already said to be in the works.
The Dior fashion house reacted swiftly at the first hint of trouble with its prize couturier. Police briefly detained Galliano on Feb. 24 following an altercation with a couple at Paris cafe La Perle. Dior, citing its zero-tolerance policy for racism and anti-Semitism, suspended him the following day.
Shortly after, an amateur video surfaced showing an inebriated Galliano spewing insults and declaring in a slurred voice, “I love Hitler,” prompting Dior to commence dismissal procedures, parting ways with its prize couturier after a glorious 15-year career.
Yet there was never any explicit mention of Galliano’s fate at his signature house, which always lived in the shadow of Dior and never attained the same level of critical mass.
Galliano is to stand trial on a charge of public insult at the High Court here, which is expected on May 12 to set the date for the proceedings. The designer could face months in prison and a fine of 22,500 euros, or $31,271 at current exchange.
Galliano has denied the allegations against him, apologized for his behavior and also stated plans to pursue a claim of defamation, insult and menace filed against two of his accusers.
According to sources, the designer recently competed an “intensive” one-month treatment at a rehabilitation center in Arizona and is now in extended “after care.”