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FASHION

Galliano awaits ruling over unstylish outburst

Fashion icon, drug addict and alcoholic John Galliano will learn on Thursday whether he will be convicted and punished for a decidedly un-stylish alleged anti-Semitic rant.

Six months after he was sacked as the superstar chief designer at French fashion house Dior, the flamboyant 50-year-old Briton faces a fine or even a prison term over his reported drunken outbursts.  

Once known for strutting onto the catwalk to steal the limelight at the end of his own shows, Galliano has chosen to avoid exposure on the last day of his trial, staying away and allowing his lawyers to hear the verdict.  

But, while the hearing itself will be less of a media circus than his last court appearance, the fashion world is agog to learn if the fallen star will be condemned as a foul-mouthed bigot or allowed to rebuild a reputation.  

Once one of the most celebrated designers of his generation, Galliano faces up to six months in jail and a fine of €22,500 ($32,000) if convicted — although prosecutors asked the judges to apply only a €10,000 fine.  

Galliano insists he is not an anti-Semite but admits he can not remember the evenings of October 8, 2010 and February 24, 2011 — blaming a “triple addiction” to drink, sleeping pills and painkillers for his behaviour.  

According to several witnesses, on those nights the designer subjected fellow patrons of the La Perle cafe in Paris’ fashionable Marais district to streams of foul-mouthed and bigoted anti-Jewish and anti-Asian abuse.  

He allegedly called one witness “a fucking ugly Jewish bitch”. 

Video footage of a third incident, posted online, shows Galliano declaring “I love Hitler” and telling a couple at the next table: “People like you would be dead. Your mothers, your forefathers, would all be fucking gassed.”  

Prosecutor Anne de Fontette accepted during the trial that Galliano “is not an ideologue of anti-Jewish or anti-Asian racism.  

But, in a remark that must have stung the once cutting-edge couturier she branded the remarks “everyday racism and anti-Semitism, that of car parks and supermarkets, which is pitiful and disgusting.”  

The hearing is due to start at Paris’ main criminal court at 1130 GMT, with the verdict coming shortly afterwards.

Christian Dior, which has taken its time finding a successor to Galliano, has firmly distanced itself from the designer and declined to comment ahead of the verdict.  

For last March’s ready-to-wear collections, Dior tasked Galliano’s longtime right-hand man Bill Gaytten to oversee a show inspired by everything from early 1980s Paris nightlife to the architect Frank Gehry.  

But with the Spring-Summer 2012 fashion season kicking off this month, Dior was reportedly poised to announce a successor — with America’s hottest designer, the kilt-wearing, tattooed Marc Jacobs, tipped for the job.  

Since 1997, the 48-year-old New Yorker has held the helm of Louis Vuitton, the flagship fashion brand of the Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy (LVMH) luxury giant, which is owned in turn by Groupe Christian Dior.

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FASHION

Paris exhibition celebrates 100 years of French Vogue

A new exhibition in Paris will tell the story of 100 years of French Vogue - from the post-war 'New Look' of Christian Dior through the sexual liberation of the 1960s to the dangling-cigarette waifs of the 2000s.

French Vogue celebrates 100 years
French Vogue celebrates 100 years. Photo: Thomas Olva/AFP

But as well as celebrating the magazine’s storied history, the exhibit comes at a time of turbulence for the publication.

Just last month, it was confirmed that its editor of 10 years, Emmanuelle Alt, was out and wouldn’t be replaced.

She was not alone.

Looking to cut costs, owner Conde Nast International has axed editors across Europe over the past year, and put international Vogue editions under the direct control of global editorial director, Anna Wintour, in New York.

New York-based Anna Wintour now has overall control of French Vogue. Photo by Christophe ARCHAMBAULT / AFP

Like much of the media industry, Vogue is struggling with tumbling sales and ad revenue in the digital era.

But the latest twist is also part of the endless push and pull between New York and Paris going back to its early days.

“The whole history of French Vogue is one of back-and-forth with Conde Nast in New York – growing more independent for a while, then being reined back in,” said Sylvie Lecallier, curator of the new exhibition, “Vogue Paris 1920-2020″, which opened this weekend after a year’s delay due to the pandemic.

The Paris edition was often the loftier, more bohemian sibling to its more hard-nosed New York version.

But it was also the hotbed in which much of 20th century style and womenhood came to be defined.

“Paris was the place to hunt out talent and content and bring it to New York,” said Lecallier.

The exhibition charts the evolution from art deco drawings of the 1920s through the erotic image-making of photographers like Helmut Newton in the 1960s and 1970s.

Its last peak was under editor Carine Roitfeld in the 2000s, who brought back a provocative Gallic identity by ridding the newsroom of foreign staff and becoming a fashion icon in her own right.

Her successor, Alt, was a quieter presence, though she still oversaw key moments including its first transgender cover star, Brazilian Valentina Sampaio, in 2017.

But internet culture has created “a perfect storm” for Vogue, says media expert Douglas McCabe of Enders Analysis.

“The first 80 years of Vogue’s life, it had the market to itself, it was the bible for fashion,” McCabe told AFP.

“But online today, there are so many other ways to get your information. Influencers, Instagram, YouTube — everyone’s a threat.”

In a world where new fashion trends can blow up around the world in seconds, it has become much harder for a monthly magazine to set the pace.

“It’s not that they can’t survive for another 100 years — but they will be differently sized,” McCabe said.

Vogue has tried to branch out into different areas, including events.

“I used to work for a magazine, and today I work for a brand,” Alt said on the eve of French Vogue’s 1,000th issue in 2019.

But the big money was always in print, and Vogue Paris sales are dropping steadily from 98,345 in 2017 to 81,962 to 2020, according to data site ACPM.

It is perhaps unsurprising that the new top job in Paris, redefined as “head of editorial content”, went to Eugenie Trochu, who was key to building the magazine’s online presence.

She declared herself “thrilled to be part of Vogue’s international transformation”.

For the curator of the exhibition, it is ironic timing.

“We had no idea it would end like this when we started work on the exhibition,” said Lecallier.

“Who knows where it will go from here.”

The exhibition Vogue Paris 1920-2020 is at the Palais Galliera in Paris’ 16th arrondissement. The gallery is open 10am to 6pm Tuesday to Sunday and is closed on Mondays. Tickets for the exhibition are €14 (€12 for concessions and under 18s go free) and must be reserved online in advance. 

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