We’ve been waiting since February, and the day is finally here. No, not the annual summer sale at Harrods; the trial of John Galliano.
Galliano entered the courthouse in Paris after 2PM yesterday. It was originally speculated that the former Dior head designer would not be present for the trial and remain in rehab where he has been since early March. A source close to Galliano reported to vogue that Galliano was “humble, apologetic, and hopeful that he can recover.” Galliano will return to rehab today.
Galliano’s court testimonial was similar, attributing his anti-Semitic outbursts to health issues; and describing his current status as a “recovering alcoholic, (and) a recovering addict.” He also quickly dismissed all allegations of being a racist, and of having memory of the remarks…allegedly.
Since the trial is considered a “minor” one by the French legal system, no jury was required, only a council of three judges (one male and two females). Galliano used a translator during the proceedings. The trial was open, and anyone was able to attend. In this regard, I feel sorry for Galliano. What should be a “fair trial,” despite what he may have done, was likely turned into a circus; a parade of media and demise wishers.
After a gruelling five hours of testimonial by the three plaintiffs, the trial proceedings were over. Plaintiff Geraldine Bloch is seeking only 1 Euro in damages, stating that she is only after “an expression of regret and an excuse for what happened.” Her boyfriend and second plaintiff Philippe Virgitti is not feeling so charitable, seeking “moral damage” compensation. Virgitti’s lawyer stated that “Mr. Galliano doesn’t seem to have a code of honour, so my client feels the only way to reach his is through his wallet.” RIIIIIIIGHT. I think what he means to say is, “Galliano is loaded, so I think I will milk this until the teat runs dry.” I am not saying that Galliano should not be held accountable for what he did, but saying that he has no “code of honour” because of a drunken bar moment is a bit much.
It is unlikely that Galliano will face a prison sentence if found guilty. A lawyer, who is an expert on such cases, stated that while the law enables a prison sentence for such cases, “it’s extremely rare…except in the case of repeat offenders, in other words when you are dealing with someone who is permanently reiterating insults.” These laws, unique to France, are of course rooted in the history of WWII. Still, we must wait as the final verdict will not be rendered until September after the courts summer break.
Dior must wait as well. We also learned this week that Azzedine Alaïa was offered Galliano’s position at Dior after the incident, but declined. According to sources, Alaïa did not want to be involved with the next chapter of a novel that (at the moment) looks like a tragedy. Journalist Vanessa Friedman reported in the Financial Times that “The sheer fact that the Dior leadership was thinking this way does, however, make me think the field may be more open than the fashion world suspects.” Who knows, maybe Dior planted this little snag just to throw the rest of us off…clever, clever…