John Galliano's Employer Wants You to Judge Him by His Talent, Not His Past

OTB CEO Stefano Rosso explains why he hired John Galliano as creative director of Maison Martin Margiela earlier this month.
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Lauren Indvik
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OTB CEO Stefano Rosso explains why he hired John Galliano as creative director of Maison Martin Margiela earlier this month.
John Galliano in 2010. Photo: Jason Kempin/Getty Images

John Galliano in 2010. Photo: Jason Kempin/Getty Images

Stefano Rosso, chief executive officer of OTB, took the stage at WWD's Apparel and Retail CEO Summit in Manhattan on Monday to talk about how OTB evolved from a mono-brand company (just Diesel) to a multi-brand one whose portfolio now includes Marni, Maison Martin Margiela and Viktor & Rolf in addition to Diesel. But the big question on the audience's mind was why OTB decided to hire John Galliano as creative director of Maison Martin Margiela earlier this month. 

Galliano was fired from Dior in March 2011 after he was caught making anti-Semitic remarks on video, and booted from his own label one month later. In the three and a half years since, Galliano has stayed relatively quiet, popping up only for the occasional interview to explain his behavior and the steps he's taken to recover from his battle with alcohol and drug addiction. He worked for about three months under Oscar de la Renta but has not, so far as we know, been employed full-time at another design house. At Maison Martin Margiela, Galliano will not only oversee the brand's existing ready-to-wear business, but also launch and show a couture collection.

"Honestly, I believe John Galliano is a talent," Rosso said. "That is the only thing that we see into him. I understand his past is his past and we as Group don't comment on the past. What we do really like to comment is on the future of John Galliano, and we believe the best and only way to do so is to see his next collection. My advice is to see what he is going to deliver, and I would like you to judge us for his collection, his couture collection in Paris. That is the only thing we feel is the right thing to say right now."