John Galliano Attempts to Repent in Vanity Fair

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Word began to spread in the fashion world that shamed designer John Galliano was preparing a media offensive, and here's his first (profanity-laced, still not very successful) shot at public redemption: Vanity Fair has released excerpts from Ingrid Sischy's interview with Galliano, who was famously fired from Dior in 2011 following anti-Semitic remarks. In VF's interview, billed as the first one Galliano has ever given while sober, the designer makes the case that his scandal came while in the throes of addiction, and that he still does not truly understand why he made the remarks: 

It’s the worst thing I have said in my life, but I didn’t mean it. . . . I have been trying to find out why that anger was directed at this race. I now realize I was so fucking angry and so discontent with myself that I just said the most spiteful thing I could.

Galliano tells Sischy that he does not remember the night he was videotaped saying he loves Hitler and telling people that they would be dead since their ancestors would have been gassed. 

When everyone came over to tell me that I had done these terrible things, I was walking round and round and round not really knowing what had gone down. My assistant told me about the video. When I saw it, I threw up. The feeling was like I was about to take a step out onto the street and a bus or truck whooshed past me and the blood was drained from my legs. I was paralyzed from the fear.

The VF excerpts show an effort to paint Galliano as a man who in recovery from a terrible addiction ("I did not know how to use the A.T.M.," he says) and is still trying to redeem himself, learning about Jewish history and meeting with Jewish leaders. But the interview arrives with full knowledge that Galliano's actions have not been forgotten, despite behind-the-scenes efforts from his powerful friends. A workshop he had planned to teach at Parsons was cancelled following an uproar, and Eric Wilson of the New York Times reported that Jewish customers "protested privately" when Oscar de la Renta involved him in his fall 2013 collection. 

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.