The Tom & Lorenzo Archives: 2006 -2011

Natalie Portman Severs Ties with Galliano

Handled it exactly right.

Celebrity meltdowns aren't exactly novel to the public. In fact, they're pretty much ubiquitous at this point. When one celebrity meltdown runs its course (Mel Gibson), there's another one ready to jump into the deep end of the crazy pool (Charlie Sheen) and keep tongues wagging. It seems we now live in a world where we're all just waiting for the next pampered and overpaid entertainer to collapse under the mountainous twin pressures of wealth and global adulation.

But the fashion world "enjoys" this sort of thing far less frequently; partially because, unlike the entertainment world, the fashion world is very much a closed loop (and something of an echo chamber). Fashion has no fewer extreme personalities than the entertainment industry, but the insiders and power brokers tend to do a better job of keeping their dirty laundry inside. Plus, the press is less likely to be hounding any of the major figures in the industry, at least in comparison to entertainment celebrities, so meltdowns and breakdowns are far less likely to be exposed to the public. Well, fashion industry, the public has iPhones now.


You've no doubt heard this by now, but John Galliano, head designer for Christian Dior, unleashed an ugly anti-semitic rant on a couple of people in a Paris restaurant and unfortunately for him, they caught it all on video. This is after an earlier, similar event at the same bar, which led to him being suspended from Dior just a week before Paris Fashion Week, and subsequently fired by them today. And if that wasn't bad enough, this all went down right as Natalie Portman, the new face of its Miss Dior Cherie fragance, was about to pick up the Oscar for Best Actress and become, briefly, the most photographed woman in the world. At apparently the last minute, the actress rejected the Dior gown she was supposed to wear to the ceremony and instead went with a plum-colored Rodarte gown.

Natalie, who is Jewish, was asked about the Galliano incident backstage after she won her Oscar and was advised by (we presume) handlers to not answer the question. That's entirely understandable because that moment should have been about her and not about the ugliness emanating from someone with whom she has a business affiliation.

But she felt the need to speak out, apparently, and it's kind of refreshing to see a public figure excoriate another public figure's bad behavior, because they tend to protect their own more than not (see: Polanski, Roman). Here's Natalie's statement:

“I am deeply shocked and disgusted by the video of John Galliano’s comments that surfaced today. In light of this video, and as an individual who is proud to be Jewish, I will not be associated with Mr. Galliano in any way.”

Good for her. It remains to be seen if there's going to be a breach of contract fight, but Dior would be insane to pursue this. As for the fashion industry itself, well...

"However, we aren’t clear about one thing: the video starts right at the moment when Galliano launches his tirade. So one or the other must be true: either whoever took it was a master of timing, or what we are seeing is a video created for this purpose. In other words, possibly it was made by holding the mobile in the hand waiting for the celebrity – evidently provoked – to explode."

"We don’t want to go on an obsessive search for hidden motives,
but perhaps behind this event are just some parvenus of journalistic scandal who, in our opinion, were waiting to have three minutes of video to sell to someone for a good deal."

Yes, you read that right. It's apparently the people Galliano said should be "gassed" like their "forefathers" that are the truly suspicious ones, according to Franca Sozzani, Editor-in-Chief of Vogue Italia. Stay classy, fashion industry. And insular.

[Photo Credit: wireimage]


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