Designer John Galliano starts comeback at de la Renta

NEW YORK Fri Jan 18, 2013 12:20pm EST

Fashion designer John Galliano (C) and his lawyer Stephane Zerbib (L) arrive for a hearing at a police station in Paris February 28, 2011. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

Fashion designer John Galliano (C) and his lawyer Stephane Zerbib (L) arrive for a hearing at a police station in Paris February 28, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Gonzalo Fuentes

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Disgraced fashion designer John Galliano is making his return to the industry with a temporary residency at Oscar de la Renta's studio in New York, de la Renta said on Friday.

The British designer, who was fired by Dior in 2011 after he was caught on camera making anti-Semitic remarks in a Paris cafe, will spend the next three weeks with de la Renta as he prepares for his forthcoming New York Fashion Week show.

"He has worked long and hard on his recovery, and I'm happy to give him the opportunity to reimmerse himself in the world of fashion and reacclimate in an environment where he has been so creative," de la Renta said in a statement confirming Galliano's stint.

De la Renta added that he had known Galliano for years and said "I'm a great admirer of his talent."

Galliano, 52, said an addiction to drugs and alcohol had left him out of control and he was determined to make amends.

Galliano's sudden departure from the star position at one of the multibillion-dollar global fashion world's most recognized labels shook the industry and left LVMH, Dior's owner and a leading international luxury goods conglomerate, without a creative leader at its top couture brand for months.

Dior's new lead designer, Raf Simons, presented his first ready-to-wear collection last September.

A French court handed out a 6,000-euro ($8,000) suspended fine to Galliano in 2011 after he was found guilty of anti-Semitic behavior.

In a statement issued on Friday, Galliano said he has been in recovery from alcoholism for the past two years, but that several years before "I descended into the madness of the disease. I said and did things which hurt others, especially members of the Jewish community."

He added that he was "committed to making amends to those I have hurt. I am grateful to Oscar beyond words for inviting me to spend time with him in the familiar surroundings of a design studio. His support and faith in me is humbling."

Since his Dior dismissal, Galliano has designed British model Kate Moss's wedding dress and was mooted as the new creative director of the relaunched fashion label Schiaparelli in rumors that were quickly dismissed, Vogue magazine reported.

Galliano is widely thought of as one of the most talented and creative names in fashion. His shows for his eponymous label and Dior were known for their drama and theatrical beauty.

'PRINCE OF ROMANTIC GLAMOUR'

Fashion world figures expressed support for Galliano's return, with Vogue editor Alexandra Shulman saying "This is terrific" on Twitter.

"Oscar de la Renta is the king of uptown style and John Galliano the prince of romantic glamour, so it should be a magical match," she told Vogue.

Marie Claire creative director Nina Garcia, who is also a judge on the popular television competition "Project Runway," said "Welcome to New York John Galliano!!!!!" in a Twitter posting, while Elle magazine gushed, "You'll never believe who Oscar de la Renta welcomed to his NYC studio!"

The Anti-Defamation League, which monitors and fights anti-Semitism, also welcomed the move, citing Galliano's "demonstrated effort to learn from his remarks about Jews, Hitler and the Holocaust."

"We believe that individuals can change their hearts and minds as long as they demonstrate true contrition," said the group's national director, Abraham Foxman, in a statement posted on its website.

"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."

Foxman said Galliano had met with the group many times, and added: "We wish him much success and look forward to working with him again in the near future as a spokesman against anti-Semitism, intolerance and bigotry."

($1 = 0.7486 euros)

(Additional reporting by Paul Casciato and Phil Wahba; editing by Mark Heinrich and Mohammad Zargham)

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