John Galliano has been invited by Oscar de la Renta to return to fashion for the first time since the designer’s anti-Semitic rant at a Paris cafe was captured on video.
De la Renta invited Galliano to spend time in his studio over the next three weeks, according to a statement released Friday by de la Renta’s company.
Galliano was dismissed as creative director of Christian Dior and left his own label two years ago after his rant went viral. A French court also convicted him on two other complaints of anti-Semitic behaviour.
In a statement, Galliano said he is an alcoholic and has 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. I have expressed my sorrow privately and publicly for the pain which I have caused and I continue to do so,” he said.
“I remain committed to making amends to those I have hurt.”
De la Renta said he has known Galliano for years and is “a great admirer of his talent.”
“He has worked long and hard on his recovery and I’m happy to give him the opportunity to reimmerse himself in the world of fashion and reacclimate in an environment where he has been so creative,” de la Renta said in a statement.
The statement did not elaborate on what role if any Galliano might play in de la Renta’s business.
The saga of Galliano’s undoing began with run-ins at a Paris watering hole where fellow diners contended the designer showered them with a litany of racist and anti-Semitic insults. Video posted online showed an inebriated Galliano slurring “I love Hitler,” among other incendiary remarks.
The Anti-Defamation League said on Friday that it welcomed Galliano’s return to fashion.
“We believe that individuals can change their hearts and minds as long as they demonstrate true contrition,” National Director Abraham H. Foxman said in a statement. He said Galliano met with the group on several occasions and “dedicated a significant amount of time to researching, reading, and learning about the evils of anti-Semitism and bigotry.”
Foxman added that he hoped to work with Gallinao as a spokesman against anti-Semitism and intolerance.
Galliano’s extravagant, theatrical collections drew inspiration from far-flung cultures like Kenya’s Massai people and the geishas of Japan and his proud rooster-like post-fashion show strut had long been a thing of legend.
Although Galliano’s remarks would not be punishable in the US, France has strict laws aimed at curbing anti-Semitic and racist language. The laws were enacted in the decades following the Holocaust.
Galliano’s own namesake label, now designed by Bill Gaytten, was presenting its menswear collection in Paris on Friday.