With the fall 2011 show season over, we can all focus on gossiping about John Galliano and Christophe Decarnin and all those other rumors about designers like Hannah MacGibbon losing their jobs. No fashion to distract us! We kid — the fashion shows are wonderful, but this season — with Galliano getting fired from Christian Dior and Balmain's Decarnin recovering from a mental breakdown — they have been beside the point. Without the shows the industry has some time to reflect on what we can learn about Galliano's drunken tirades, Decarnin's situation, and even last year's suicide of Alexander McQueen, whose body was found to contain a cocktail of drugs heavy on cocaine.
Saks is thinking ahead. The store's president and chief merchandising officer Ronald Frasch spoke to the Times:
Mr. Frasch said that Saks executives had met this week to encourage a discussion with employees about managing the stresses they face. “We have to be observant and quickly intervene if we see behavior that isn’t normal,” he said.
Is the fashion industry to blame for substance abuse among top designers? Marc Jacobs, Donatella Versace, and Calvin Klein are just a few names who have publicly dealt with their addictions. WWD searches for an answer in a long article that basically says fashion is a stressful business that has become more stressful in recent years, and any stress can exacerbate any underlying personal issues that lead to addiction issues. Sometimes those addictions interfere with business, and it's difficult for business people to approach their colleagues and tell them they need to go to rehab.
But many, including Marc Jacobs, pointed out that fashion people aren't the only ones with problems, stress, or addictions — we just don't hear about the bank tellers, teachers, and construction workers that are in rehab or AA because they're not public figures.
Karl Lagerfeld refuses to blame fashion for its stars' alcohol- and drug-induced downfalls.
“I see designing, running a company, like a high-level athletic activity,” said Karl Lagerfeld. “I don’t want to hear anything about the fragility or any of those things. If an athlete is too fragile to run, he cannot run. And this is exactly the same. You don’t accept this kind of business if you’re too much of an artist.
“I believe in discipline, so I’m not the right person to cry about weakness and things like this, but maybe I’m not human.”
Lagerfeld was one of the few people to unwaveringly condemn Galliano.