People at Fashion Week were certainly thinking about yesterday's verdict in John Galliano's trial for defamation — which included no jail time and a suspended €6,000 fine — even if they weren't talking openly about it. Cathy Horyn wrote for the Times:
If I hadn’t asked several people for a reaction to the conviction of John Galliano on anti-Semitism charges in Paris, I doubt I would have heard a peep all day. Generally, these people thought the ruling was correct, and that Mr. Galliano could repair his career. “I will bet that he will make a comeback,” Howard Socol, the former Barneys chief and now a consultant, said before the Richard Chai show. “This happens in sports and politics all the time.”
The industry's persistent adoration of the designer before the verdict would have suggested as much, anyway. But we talked to models, actors, and designers at Fashion's Night Out last night to see how closely they'd been following the story and what they thought of the verdict. Their reactions follow.
Ana Beatriz Barros, model:
Do you think the verdict in Galliano's trial was fair?
I think he is a genius, and I think it was a mistake — he was drunk. And I really respect him as a person.
And you've worked with him before, so you know him.
So many times. I agree with the verdict, and I support him. I know what he said was wrong, really wrong, but I don’t think he meant it, as I know John.
Ruby Aldridge, model:
Have you worked with Galliano before?
When I first started, I remember I was at the Dior fitting and I was going around in a circle in the room and there were so many assistants, so many people, and I like, looked at him, and I was talking to him. He was so sweet and friendly, and I just assumed because he was being so nice he couldn’t be the main designer. So I was like, “oh by the way, what’s your name?” Everybody in the room went silent and started to gasp, like literally in shock, all these French women literally didn’t know what to do. He said, “It’s John.” And I put it together within a second in my head and was like, “Oh my god, I’m so sorry.” But he was so cool, he didn’t even care, he was like, “why are you sorry? You don’t have anything to be sorry for.” He was wearing so much stuff on his face, I don’t think I knew that he designed for Dior." So that was the one time, the one and only time I met him, but he was very nice.
Do you think the verdict was fair?
I don’t know why he did it. He probably doesn’t know why he did it, so I
can’t judge him for that. But it is awful what he said, completely unacceptable obviously, nobody should ever go there and you should never be drunk enough to say things like that. Celebrities and people that are in the limelight like that get a lot of leniency towards things like this. I feel like they get away with a lot more than average Joe. But, as to him getting off, you know that’s pretty fortunate.
Ivan Shaw, photo director at Vogue:
What was the mood in the Vogue office today with the Galliano verdict?
I couldn't tell you.
Is the magazine planning on addressing the story?
Lazaro Hernandez, Proenza Schouler designer:
What do you think of the news that John Galliano got off with no jail time and a suspended fine?
I’m not up to date on what’s going on.
Prabal Gurung, designer:
What do you think of John Galliano being found guilty?
I think the people who made the verdict are sane and wise enough to make the decision. I have no knowledge to have an opinion about it. I wish him all the best.
Matthew Settle, actor:
What do you think about what happened with the Galliano sentencing today?
I heard he was in a cultural camp or something, where he’s learning to be tolerant or something? Does he have to do thirty days? I was kind of hoping he would be in the Foreign Legion with Laurel and Hardy. Isn’t that where they used to send criminals? That was way before my time, but I used to rent them in the library, and I thought Galliano would be a nice addition to that. But I mean, come on, he’s an amazing designer, it’s really tragic. I hope he didn’t mean it. I’ve heard friends of mine who are Jewish who know him and they said he figured out these girls were of that descent, and so he tried to attack them where it hurt them. I hope it’s not true. I hate that kind of shit."
Hunter Parrish, actor:
Did you hear about the Galliano sentencing today? What do you think?
Yes, I heard about this. I saw that. And so, he got convicted. But I know Varvatos, I know Marc Jacobs, I don’t know Galliano, I don’t know who he is, so I wasn’t “oh my God.” Regardless, his response was that he was drunk, it wasn’t meant personally, but you've got to maintain self-control, if you’re under the influence of alcohol or whatnot. It’s not just him that’s done that. Other people have made those remarks, those mistakes, and they have to pay the consequences. Or if you’re going to be a jerk, pay the consequences. I think it’s interesting, though, because the offense is that he said that. And here, in the United States, that’s not illegal, we have freedom of speech. And one, that makes you sort of sad, that you could say that and not have a consequence, but it does make me proud that I do live in a country where you can say things and have opinions and have freedom of speech, and not have to pay a fine or potentially go to jail for your opinions.
Rose McGowan, actress.
What did you think when you heard about the Galliano sentencing today?
It’s just horrible what he said, but it’s also so bizarre, because we’re in America, where we have freedom of speech. Now, if you said anything like that, it would kill your career, and it’s reprehensible, but it’s still bizarre that you could do time. It’s shocking on many levels. Well, you have to fight for the right to say reprehensible things, because it’s a domino effect. You take away one right, and well It’s all about protecting your rights. It’s very strange.