IHT Rendezvous: Can Armstrong be Redeemed? How About Galliano?

John Galliano at the 2010 Paris spring collections.Jacques Brinon/Associated Press John Galliano at the 2010 Paris spring collections.

LONDON — While Lance Armstrong was (not quite) baring his soul to Oprah this week, a very different celebrity, the disgraced London fashion designer John Galliano, was taking a small step on the path to redemption.

Two years after he was ousted from Dior in the wake of his arrest for a drunken, anti-Semitic rant in a Paris bar, Mr. Galliano is to make a modest comeback at the New York design studio of Oscar de La Renta.

As Eric Wilson writes over at On the Runway, many had speculated that the man described as “the prince of romantic glamor” would never work in the fashion industry again after his downfall in 2011.

However, with the support of fashion luminaries such as Anna Wintour and Grace Coddington of Vogue, he appears set for rehabilitation.

“As far as a comeback strategy, working for Mr. de la Renta in a casual capacity, practically an intern, is, in effect, a way of testing the waters,” Eric writes.

The downfall of the Gibraltar-born, London-raised designer came after two patrons of a bar in the Marais district of Paris accused him of making an anti-Semitic slur.

An online video later surfaced that showed a previous incident in which a bleary Mr. Galliano told fellow customers in the same bar, “I love Hitler” and “people like you would be dead” and “your mothers, your forefathers” would all be “gassed.”

All the more surprising, then, that among those who welcomed the 52-year-old designer’s return was Abraham H. Foxman of the Anti-Defamation league.

The head of the American anti-Semitism watchdog group said on Friday, “Mr. Galliano has worked arduously in changing his worldview and dedicated a significant amount of time to researching, reading, and learning about the evils of anti-Semitism and bigotry.”

The A.D.L. had met the designer on numerous occasions and hoped to work with him in the future as a spokesman against bigotry.

A Paris court fined Mr. Galliano €6,000, or $8,000, for racial insults after he offered his apologies, and last year President François Hollande stripped him of the Légion d’Honneur that he was awarded in 2009.

The designer’s behavior was widely blamed on drug and alcohol addiction, which he’s sought treatment for over the last two years.

“Under intense pressure to produce at least eight full collections a year, Galliano — like so many other artists — reached for sustenance and oblivion,” Suzy Menkes, the IHT’s fashion editor, wrote in November.

Another celebrity who has admitted to turning to drugs, but for very different reasons, is Lance Armstrong, the disgraced American cycling superstar who came clean to Oprah Winfrey this week.

Summing up the response among cycling and anti-doping officials, my colleague Ian Austen wrote: “Many characterized Armstrong’s interview with Oprah Winfrey as being more self-serving than revelatory.”

Has Mr. Armstrong done enough to pave the way for an eventual comeback or were his television appearances indeed self-serving? And what about Mr. Galliano? Should his repentance for his unpardonable remarks lead to a second chance at success? Does either celebrity — or both — deserve redemption? Tell us what you think.

Article source: http://rendezvous.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/01/19/can-armstrong-be-redeemed-how-about-galliano/?partner=rss&emc=rss

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