PARIS (AFP) – Dior on Friday presented its last collection overseen by flamboyant designer John Galliano, distancing itself from the “disgraceful” tirade that saw him sacked this week for alleged anti-Semitism.
Completely overshadowed by the Galliano scandal, the show took place in a subdued atmosphere in the gardens of the Rodin Museum, in a chic district just down the road from the French prime minister’s residence.
“What has happened over the last week has been a terrible and wrenching ordeal for us all,” Christian Dior boss Sidney Toledano said before the start of the much-anticipated show as part of Paris Fashion Week.
“It has been deeply painful to see the Dior name associated with the disgraceful statements attributed to its designer, however brilliant he may be.”
The British designer fell from grace spectacularly this week after claims he had drunkenly abused and used anti-Semitic insults against people in a cafe in Paris’ fashionable and historically Jewish Marais district
Galliano, 50, has apologised for his behaviour, denied the accusations and counter-sued for defamation — but a video emerged on Monday of him insulting someone else in the same bar and declaring “I love Hitler.”
In his speech, Toledano pointed out that Christian Dior’s “own beloved sister had been deported to Buchenwald,” the Nazi concentration camp.
Galliano’s case will be heard in the second quarter of 2011 and, if found guilty of racism, the couturier — who was sacked on Tuesday by Dior — could face a sentence of six months in jail and a fine of 22,500 euros ($31,000).
Fashionistas and journalists crowded into the gardens for what many of them felt was an historic moment, while Dior told the press they were not welcome backstage.