Was the Galliano dress uproar this week a publicity stunt that didn’t involve infamous designer John Galliano at all? Yesterday, the British designer’s publicist Liz Rosenberg spoke out to say that singer Moran Mazor wasn’t telling the truth when she said that Galliano was going to design her dress for an appearance on the upcoming Eurovision 2013 song contest that will be taking place in Malmö, Sweden.
The problem is that Mazor would be representing Israel in the contest, and Galliano has risen to infamy outside the world of fashion for a drunken anti-Semitic rant in Paris that was caught on video two years ago. He not only lost his coveted job at the prestigious Christian Dior design house, he was tried and convicted of anti-Semitism. “Public insults based on origin, religious affiliation, race or ethnicity” are illegal under French law.
Galliano admitted that he was mixing Valium and alcohol at the time of one of two hate rants. He told Women’s Wear Daily:
“I am an alcoholic. I have been in recovery for the past two years. Several years prior to my sobriety, I descended into the madness of the disease. I said and did things which hurt others, especially members of the Jewish community.”
He has since sought treatment and is now hoping to turn his life around. In January, designer Oscar de la Renta offered him a chance to spend three weeks in his New York studio as part of the recovery process.
But the Israeli broadcasting authority wasn’t impressed, and they don’t want the nation of Israel represented by someone wearing Galliano. Yoav Ginai, an executive at the state-run agency, sent Mazor a written statement which informed her that she wasn’t allowed to appear on Eurovision in a Galliano dress.
The uproar that followed included a lively debate between those who believed that Galliano has worked hard to change his life and those who don’t think two years is quite enough to put real distance between the designer and the hate speech. And it probably doesn’t help his case that he was recently seen wearing a traditional Hasidic outfit. I don’t think that playing dress-up with the clothing of the people you’ve offended is always the best idea.
But Galliano apparently never agreed to take the job in the first place. The entire Galliano dress uproar is based on what appears to be an attention-getting publicity stunt, perhaps for Moran Mazor or perhaps for the Eurovision contest itself.