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Edited by on June 23 2011 at 8:02 AM

During his 7-hour trial yesterday, John Galliano painted a portrait of a man undone by his addictions to alcohol, sleeping pills and Valium who had no recollection of uttering the anti-Semitic remarks that resulted in him losing his position at Christian Dior.

John Gallianos Haute Court ure Show

Galliano told the packed courthouse that he started drinking “in a cyclical way” after the death of his assistant Steven Robinson in 2007:

“Steven protected me from everything so I could just concentrate on being creative. With his death, I found I had no more protection.”

As with his father’s death in 2003, Galliano had no time for mourning — his fashion plate was far too full for that:

“When Steven died, his parents and I buried him, then we went to the crematorium, and then I went back to do my fittings. The same thing happened with my father’s death. I had to go and bury him and then come back that very night and work on the haute couture.”

In addition to designing multiple collections for Dior every season, Galliano was also worried about the fate of his eponymous label:

“I had two children. One was inherited — Dior — and the other was my own, the Galliano company. Dior is a big machine and I didn’t want to lose Galliano. At this point, in order for the house of Galliano to survive, I met with many businessmen and signed many licenses.”

The combination of his addictions and his demanding schedule led to the designer taking a “lethal” mix of alcohol and prescription drugs at the time of the events for which he was on trial. However, he maintained that he had no recollection of uttering racist and anti-Semitic remarks.

When shown the infamous video of him heiling Hitler, Galliano explains: “I see someone who needs help, who’s very vulnerable. It’s the shadow of John Galliano. I see a man who’s been pushed to the edge.”

Both victims of the February 24th incident, Geraldine Bloch and Philippe Virgitti were present to testify in court but Fatiha Oumeddour, the plaintiff from the October 8th incident was not. Though, in a statement read by the judge she says that “when I read the press…I decided to come forward.”

Bloch claimed Galliano used about 30 anti-Semitic remarks in the space of the 30-45 minute altercation at a café near the designer’s home but didn’t leave as “a matter of principle.”

Virgitti, frightened by the media shitstorm that sprang up immediately after the news of Galliano’s arrest and subsequent dismissal from Dior, initially withdrew his complaint. But in order to protect himself from a defamation countersuit by Galliano, refiled it. The witness also revealed that he “looked up” Galliano following the incident and that it was “clear that in his work, he uses all different cultures.”

Galliano cited this work — as well as his own homosexuality – as proof that he embraces diversity of all kinds: ”I have never held these beliefs. All my life I’ve fought against prejudice and intolerance and discrimination because I have been subjected to it myself.”

Aurélien Hamelle, John Galliano’s lawyer, called two witnesses who claimed that while they heard Galliano insulting Bloch, he never made any anti-Semitic remarks. One witness, Marion Bully said:

“I heard absolutely no anti-Semitic comments. When I saw in the media that he had lost his job, I found it so unjustified and thought it was my role to come forward so that justice could be done.”

We’ll all have to wait a few months to see whether justice will be done or not when the court makes its decision on September 8th. While the public prosecutor is asking for a fine of no less than $14,300, Hamelle called for Galliano to be acquitted. [WWD]


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Story by Lester Brathwaite

I was center square from 1969 to 1978, during which I perfected the art of the zing as well as a crippling cocaine addiction. Bea Arthur was responsible for both. @LesFabian lester at