The clothes make the man, and if John Galliano’s fashion week attire is doing anything for him, it’s turning him into an object of contempt yet again.
The disgraced designer has made significant strides back into the arms of fashion and the public’s good graces, with an apology, a rehab stint, some outspoken supporters backing up his character and programming his comeback.
Which is why he picked a terrible time (though there is probably never a wonderful time) to step out in an all-out, if not inadvertent, haute copy of a Hasidic man’s traditional outfit. The New York Post was, as expected, sensationally outraged, as evidenced by its front page. The paper quoted several prominent Jewish New Yorkers, including Brooklyn Assemblyman Dov Hikind.
“If it was just anyone else, I wouldn’t know what to say,” Hikind told the Post. “But considering who this guy is, considering his background and what he’s said in the past, let him explain it to all of us: Are you mocking us?”
Galliano didn’t make it easy to answer that question. His publicist Liz Rosenberg stated that, “Your accusations are not at all correct.” New York Magazine pointed out that Galliano is so distinct in his manner of dress that his successor at Galliano designed an entire line based off of his bizarre, exaggerated style; his hat is a recent design from that collection. His peyos-like hairstyle, long black jacket and felt hat are individual components of his usual go-to getups, but he had to realize that the sum of the parts would look almost mockingly similar to a member of the group he criticized to the point of occupational ruin.
Perhaps he did—Galliano reportedly remained backstage and behind the scenes during de la Renta’s show. Whether it was a sign of atonement, disregard, or just a bad outfit, he’s burning up under the microscope in as blinding a manner as one would expect from the bad boy of fashion.