Julie: So Johnny Galliano, eh? THAT GUY.
Rachel: Old Johnny that scoundrel.
Julie: We haven’t really heard much from him. Then last week, Oscar de la Renta offered him a residency. And this week? He shows up at the Oscar de la Renta show dressed as a Hassidic Jew.
Rachel: I think a lot of people were really looking forward to seeing him all cleaned up and looking and acting “better” for his experiences. By his “experiences” I mean his drunken anti-Semitic outburst.
Julie: I mean, perhaps he was just picking up a trend from 2011 — the St. Bessarion show featured a Hassid-inspired collection.
Rachel: I mean, cultural appropriation isn’t exactly unheard of in the fashion industry. I feel like every fashion week there’s a controversy or two about appropriating Native American, or African American, or Asian culture.
Julie: Sure. But if you’re John Galliano, who has been charged and found guilty of making anti-Semetic remarks, you should probably run dressing up as a Hassidic Jew past your PR guy. Who is letting that man out the house like that?
Rachel: I am willing to bet that he lives alone.
Julie: Surrounded by French macaroons and copies of Valley of the Dolls, but yes, alone.
Rachel: Oscar de la Renta taking him on and letting him design for the show was incredibly generous, and it was a really good chance for him to redeem himself and to make it clear that he was in a hard spot and that he’s not just a crazy racist coot.
Julie: I feel like he might have some kind of weird Hitler complex. There were always rumors that Hitler had a secret Jewish lineage and a secret Jewish girlfriend, and Galliano is also supposed to have Jewish roots.
Rachel: Self-hating Jews are a THING! They even have a Wikipedia page!
Julie: I mean, I probably qualify as one. But like, I also don’t go around openly mocking Hassidic culture (because they own all the real estate in Brooklyn and I am scared of them).
Rachel: Anyway, I think that it could be that a large part of his mocking Jews is somewhat latent, he might not even realize how offensive he’s actually being.
Julie: Maybe? But he basically ruined his career over mocking Jews so something tells me he has a clue.
Rachel: I think everyone can agree that whether or not he intended to offend people with this latest outfit, it is so, so, so, so, so stupid.
Julie: He might have decided that “Anti-Semitic” is his new “thing.”
Rachel: He might be “owning it.” Like, “Whatever, I’m just anti-Semitic now, and it’s stylish!”
Julie: Whatever the reason — and I’m sure Galliano has crafted some really “witty” response — I do NOT get why a guy who is clearly from a historically marginalized group (as in, he’s gay) would choose to pick on another. This is like the Chris Brown conundrum.
Rachel: I was JUST ABOUT TO SAY…
Julie: I just cannot abide by excusing shitty behavior just because the person happens to produce a product people like. Nope. There are enough talented people out there who are not raging roiling hemmorhoids on the ass of society. It’s 2013. NO MORE APOLOGIES for people being shitty. Because here’s the thing, it sort of tells these guys that as long as they apologize after the fact — in some token, passing way — they can continue on with their crappy behavior.
Rachel: The exact same crappy behavior that got them in trouble in the first place, no less. I think that by choosing to wear this outfit, and go out in public, he thought he was pulling one over on people, that he would “get away with it.”
Julie: It’s the American desire for a compelling redemption story that keeps the public enraptured by guys like Galliano and Chris Brown.
Rachel: Plus, he’s being opposed by Jewish leaders and Jewish people, but fashion people? Nope, they’re saying “that’s just John,” even defending him. And we want to believe that he’s had a miraculous turnaround, he’s a new man, that wasn’t the real him. But it’s like the old saying, “When someone shows you who they are, for the love of god BELIEVE THEM.”
Julie: I don’t think that is an old saying, but it is an Oprah saying, so same difference.