In some ways, what Galliano reveals is even uglier and goes even deeper than we expected. Each paragraph is more shocking than the last–and this is only a preview. (The full interview, which can be found in print, features interviews with more of Galliano’s friends and colleagues, including Anna Wintour and Naomi Campbell.)
Ingrid Sischy, who is coeditor of the Italian, German and Spanish editions of the magazine, conducted the interview, in which Galliano opens up about those anti-Semitic remarks he made, his longtime struggle with drugs and alcohol, how he’s making amends, and more. Read on for the most shocking things we learned from what Galliano says was the first interview he’s ever done sober:
He feels his anti-Semitic rants were the result of misdirected anger:
It’s the worst thing I have said in my life, but I didn’t mean it. . . . I have been trying to find out why that anger was directed at this race. I now realize I was so fucking angry and so discontent with myself that I just said the most spiteful thing I could.
On the severity of his alcohol and drug dependency:
I was going to end up in a mental asylum or six feet under.
Alcohol and drugs became a vicious cycle he used to cope with the demands of doing so many collections for Dior:
At first alcohol was like a crutch outside of Dior. Then I would use it to crash after the collections. I’d take a couple of days to get over it, like everyone. But with more collections, the crash happened more often, and then I was a slave to it. Then the pills kicked in because I couldn’t sleep. Then the other pills kicked in because I couldn’t stop shaking. I would also have these huge bottles of liquor that people got for me. Towards the end, it was whatever I could get my hands on. Vodka, or vodka-and-tonic. Wine, in the belief it would help me sleep. Wrong. I did manage to stop the voices. I had all these voices in my head, asking so many questions, but I never for one second would admit I was an alcoholic. I thought I could control it.
In general, he was pretty removed from reality:
I lived in a bubble. I would be backstage and there would be a queue of five people to help me. One person would have a cigarette for me. The next person would have the lighter. I did not know how to use the A.T.M.
He threw up when he saw the video:
When everyone came over to tell me that I had done these terrible things, I was walking round and round and round not really knowing what had gone down. My assistant told me about the video. When I saw it, I threw up. The feeling was like I was about to take a step out onto the street and a bus or truck whooshed past me and the blood was drained from my legs. I was paralyzed from the fear.
Galliano’s bosses at LVMH sort of confronted him about his problems–twice–to no avail. Sischy writes:
Sidney Toledano, C.E.O. of Dior, took Galliano to lunch and said he needed to get help. According to Sischy, Galliano turned the tables and suggested that Toledano should change his diet and eat more healthily. The second confrontation occurred when Bernard Arnault, chairman and C.E.O. of LVMH, and Toledano told Galliano he was going to die if he didn’t do something about his problem. In response, Galliano tore off his shirt to reveal a gym-toned torso and asked, “Does this look like the body of an alcoholic?”
He unknowingly ruined his relationship with Bill Gaytten. He called Gaytten from rehab, before the Dior show, hoping to tell the models what they should be thinking as they walked down the runway:
“Bill said, ‘Do you realize what you’ve fucking done?,’” Galliano recalls, “and I said, ‘Kind of.’ But I still didn’t. I couldn’t say yes. I just couldn’t. And those were the last words we shared. That’s someone I’ve known for 30 years. Even now I’m still learning every day how many people I hurt.”
Linda Evangelista was the only person who visited him in rehab during the first visitors weekend. She told Sischy, “I just didn’t want that weekend to go by without anyone reaching out to him.”
Galliano felt that designing Kate Moss’s wedding dress saved him:
“Creating Kate’s wedding dress saved me personally because it was my creative rehab. She dared me to be me again.” Moss describes the gown as “absolutely gorgeous, a diaphanous 1920s-type dress, romantic, with gold sequins in the shape of the phoenix—as if he was saying he would rise from this.” She tells Sischy that “when my dad gave his speech he thanked everyone and then he referred to the genius of Galliano, who made his daughter’s dress. Everyone stood up and gave John a standing ovation. It was the most moving thing, because suddenly John realized he wasn’t on his own.”
Galliano’s story reads like a perfect–and sad–example of the ugly reality behind an incredibly glamorous facade. Our only question: who’s going to make the movie?