Flipping through the FT’s How To Spend It, I saw a beautiful dress by John Galliano and my heart kinda stuttered with sorrow.
I’ve always loved Galliano’s work and actually had tears in my eyes at a V&A exhibition a few years ago on his Haute Couture work for Dior – so exquisite were the dresses. So, you may imagine my dismay, when the news broke of his anti-Semitic remarks, the ensuing court case and his acknowledgement of guilt in this respect. Who wants to believe that someone they admire holds racist beliefs? Sadly, there is no pre-determined tenet that exempts the most gifted of us from bigotry, prejudice and idiocy, anymore than applies to any one of us ordinary mortals.
Galliano has now served his time, paid his penance and is returning to work, albeit not at his former position with Dior. and I find myself torn …
I still love his work – these examples of his S/S 2013 should be guide as to why – but do I feel comfortable even praising the work of someone that might be racist? Logically, he has paid the price for his crime and should be free to get back to work. He may be genuinely sorry and have done something that was out of character and one-off stupid. I do believe in free speech even if that does mean that people are free to express views that I find objectionable. Do I boycott everyone who disagrees with me or whose opinions I dislike? No, I do not. If I did, I would be as bigoted as any other bigot especially when, as with Galliano, I do not know them personally and am relying on media information which is generally expressing a specific POV.
But, I am uncomfortable. I look at the John Galliano Spring/Summer 2013 Collection and my heart says, “oh, pretty …” but my mind is saying, “not happy, not happy…”
What do I do? Might putting this in a blog even be promotion of a kind. Should I care? Principle or Style: owwie, brain hurting. What do you think?