A Penitent John Galliano Talks to Charlie Rose About Childhood, Addiction and McQueen’s Suicide

Breaking his silence for the second time since his dismissal from Dior, John Galliano spoke to American journalist Charlie Rose in a riveting interview that touched on childhood, addiction and the suicide of Alexander McQueen.

NEW YORK, United States — John Galliano has broken his silence for the second time since his dismissal from Dior, granting a televised interview to American talk show host and journalist Charlie Rose. In the interview Galliano says he was a “fully functioning addict.”

“I was afraid to say no — that little word… I was emotionally, spiritually, physically, mentally bankrupt,” he said.

“I was producing 32 collections a year, between Galliano and Dior,” he continued, referring to the intense pressures of fashion’s relentless cycle. And indeed, the extreme highs and crashing lows came faster and more often with every new success, ensuring Galliano was constantly at some stage of a vicious cycle. “I would take the valium to stop the shaking so I could do the fittings, and the sleeping pills so I could sleep. My life became unmanageable.”

The designer appeared wearing a sleek ponytail and a restrained blazer and shirt. “I am trying to make amends. I have upset many people. I need to reach out them… I hope through my atonement I will be given a second chance,” said a penitent Galliano.

When asked about Alexander McQueen’s suicide in 2010, Galliano said: “I understood; that loneliness, that pain.”

Galliano also discussed his recent work with Oscar de la Renta. “I ran to the bathroom, threw myself on my knees and said the Serenity Prayer, and I went into the workroom and introduced myself to the tailors, the seamstresses in their white coats — and then it was fine,” he said. Clearly moved, Galliano went on to describe his return to fashion for the first time in two years. “It was just an amazing feeling. I thought I’d never feel it again.”

Watch the full interview here.

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8 comments

  1. You’re a genious, man. You do not need to keep explaining yourself – everybody understood pretty much how sick you were and consequently why you said what you said. If the horrible modern ‘fashion’ system (which makes all of us less creative and sick!) does not wanna accept you back, create a new one! You will have millions of creative followers! Move on.

    andy from Ireland
  2. The interview was disappointing. Mostly because Charlie Rose is a disappointing interviewer (Google ‘Charlie Rose bad interviewer’ to understand… Such as when he interrupts his guests mid-sentence. Such as with John). For such an awaited interviewee, John’s publicist could have shopped around this appearance to other outlets some more. She should have strategized that John Galliano’s road to repair his reputation is about winning hearts, not minds. So to choose an intellectual interviewer was a mistake on the part of his publicist. What he needed most was an Oprah moment. Not a bland Charlie Rose.

    Ian from Jamaica, NY, United States
  3. I believe every word John says…. This sensation hungry media can stop now to keep going on about the things he said…it’s not a sensation and I am bored…..and this self explaining humble thing is not necessary at all seriously.

    Vivian from Berlin, Berlin, Germany
  4. I agree. Charlie Rose was shocking. He repeatedly asked Mr. Galliano “why [he] said it,” and then dismissed the response each time. If an interviewer cannot help from squandering and interview to act on his own opinion, he should recuse himself from the opportunity. An interview should uncover and let the viewer decide.

    femar from Jamaica, NY, United States
  5. La grandeur de Galliano a’ son talent unique…

    Margarita Slavinskaya from Moscow, Moscow, Russian Federation
  6. As a Progressive African- American male I understand all too well the pressures that John was under and how it raised it’s ugly head. I think that if he relocated to America he would have a better time of moving forward. From the moment that I saw that video I knew that wasn’t really him, it was the stress and pressures of the industry coming out in a very unproductive way. I admire him for taking this time to make amends and to try and get back to the innocent young man who found a way to speak through drawing and fashion.
    I wish I could meet him and just give him a hug and let him know that it will be ok. I think he should begin to get back into designing and this time do it on a smaller scale. I also think he should remain in control of his new venture so that he can do what he needs to do to remain healthy and in control. I admired John for his talent and for his ability to create.

    Phillip from Philadelphia, PA, United States
  7. I am a black American woman who doesn’t see how relocating here would resolve his drug problems and other issues that he had before his meltdown. I do think that John has made enormous personal progress and it is best that he stayed out 2 years working on himself so that he doesn’t end up drugged out and suicidal like McQueen and others. I know that the reemerging John will be better and I welcome him back!

    Carla from Washington, DC, United States
  8. It is inconceivable to me how/why we have been deprived of his genius for two years now. This man is the Van Gogh of our times and I hope he can find his way back to the top of the fashion world where be belongs. Long live Galliano!

    Leslie from Spotsylvania, VA, United States