Manolo says, the Manolo’s friend Linda Grant has written the consideration of the scandale Galliano for today’s Guardian in which she determines it is all about the transgression.
According to fashion journalist Melanie Rickey, of the Fashion Editor at Large blog and Grazia, for years the industry has pushed Galliano to greater and greater extremes: “All everyone has ever wanted from John is transgressive fashion, and to use his excessive ideas to sell nice handbags and perfumes,” she says. And once you are set on a path to break taboos, it is almost impossible to find new ideas. So how on earth do you shock, when you have already exhausted S&M dungeons for ideas for haute couture? The great taboo in France and Germany is antisemitism. On this ground Jews were murdered or transported to be murdered. Watching the video of Galliano slumped alone at his bar table hurling insults at a woman who evidently asked why he didn’t make clothes that all women could wear, he spits out rage. She is ugly, he loves Hitler, he invokes the gas chambers. It’s a toxic mix of hate-speech, of racism and misogyny. How is it possible to go further than this?
If you are breaker of taboos, then antisemitism is only another taboo, no different from any other. It’s the saying of the unsayable. It has become the last frontier for those demanding freedom of speech, for whom everything, even the Holocaust, is fair game. Is Galliano an actual antisemite who hates Jews? Who knows what passes through his mind, but by invoking the name of Hitler and gloating about the gas chambers, he is only doing what others have always paid him to do: shock.
It’s Galliano’s fortune and misfortune to have been named as a genius. He wants to go to the S&M clubs of the Parisian underworld and bring back chains and put it over a black leather bag and call the bag Bondage? Why not? Who would dare tell him that he has no idea what he is talking about when he says he loves Hitler, or that there is something the matter with abusing women in bars? Around him are innumerable yes men and women, bowing to his great thoughts.
Perhaps there is something to this notion of fashionable transgression taken too far. It is not as if the Manolo has not been railing for the past half decade against transgressive gestures that no longer transgress. (Here is the Manolo expressing his boredom with the Vivienne Westwood collection filled with the Nazi imagery.)
“Talent is absolutely luck,” he said one day while talking about his early fear of performing. “And no question that the most import thing in the world is courage. People worship talent and it’s so ridiculous. Talent is something you’re born with, like Kareem [Abdul-Jabbar] is born tall. That’s why so many talented people are shitheels.”
Certainly, this judgment would seem to be applicable in the case of the repulsive little fashion troll, John Galliano.