On this day in fashion history: the return of John Galliano!

January 12, 2015 could prove a potentially historic event in fashion. That is, if the fashion community is ready to forgive and forget the wrong-doings of dishonored designer John Galliano.

John Galliano at the Christian Dior s/s 2007 Haute Couture show at Paris Fashion Week.

John Galliano at the Christian Dior s/s 2007 Haute Couture show at Paris Fashion Week.

Today, marks the return of the controversial fashion designer with his debut haute couture collection for Maison Martin Margiela in London. According to Women’s Wear Daily, only a small selection of guests were invited to the see the collection, including Lanvin head designer Alber Elbaz, photographer Nick Knight, model Kate Moss, and Galliano’s longtime friend and supporter Vogue editor Anna Wintour. Galliano’s prolific career and incredible creative output as the head designer for the prestigious House of Dior (1996-2011) has been largely overshadowed by a 2011 incident in which the designer was filmed making drunken anti-Semitic remarks. The event caused international outrage and led to Galliano’s immediate dismissal from Dior. Galliano has since apologized, blaming his outburst on alcoholism and drugs for which he has received treatment, but has otherwise largely remained out of the public eye.

One look from the Galliano for Dior Spring 2009 Couture collection

One look from the Galliano for Dior Spring 2009 Couture collection

His three-week stint as a designer-in-residence for Oscar de la Renta’s Fall 2013 collection was the first hint that the fashion community might be willing to forgive the disgraced designer, an insinuation now underscored by his new position at the avant-garde house Margiela. The house is known for its colorful, often eccentric, approach to fashion design that champions the idea of recycling. Thus, many of the designs are imbued with historical references–a speciality for which Galliano is known.

With Galliano’s debut collection for the house, the question is not if he has the talent to successfully blend the brand’s unique aesthetic with his own artistic vision, but rather if fashion, and its international community of followers, will forgive the designer and buy his designs. Current reports point to yes. Respected fashion critic Suzy Menkes was invited to today’s presentation and has already exclaimed “the return” of Galliano in an article for Vogue: “With exquisite attention to detail, wild splashes of scarlet and intense decoration set against pure tailoring, John Galliano came back to the runway.” Adding, that the support of “the designer’s friends, fans and colleagues” showed they “were willing to forgive, if not forget.”  But fashion historian Lydia Kamitsis perhaps put it best when she told AFP today: “The fashion world has a very short memory — it loves what it once hated, hates what it once loved, kills as much as it gives birth to — it’s a very cynical and very volatile world.” 

And Galliano’s absence has left a very noticeable void in the artistic, theatrical approach to fashion design that goes beyond the commercial nature of the clothing and fashion industries. It is a realm occupied by only a select few designers, including most notably the late Alexander McQueen. Said Menkes: “In an era when fashion’s high tide is ebbing, as a wave of dull normality rolls forward, the return of John Galliano to the catwalk must be welcomed by anyone who loves the glory of the extraordinary.”

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See the complete Menkes review and Galliano for Margiela collection at http://www.vogue.co.uk/news/2015/01/12/suzy-menkes-galliano-margiela.

Read more from the article featuring Kamitsis at:  http://www.businessinsider.com/afp-galliano-snubs-paris-with-comeback-london-show-2015-1#ixzz3OeFzE28B

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