“Be Patient, Be Kind To Yourself”: How To Deal With A Pandemic, According To John Galliano

“Now,” John Galliano declares, “there’s a need for our vision to be more transparent.” In Los Angeles just before the borders began to close, he managed to travel – via Yucatán and Mexico City – to the house he shares, with his partner Alexis Roche and their two Brussels griffons, in the French countryside. 

On his voyage, Galliano sought comfort in rituals: Classic FM in the morning followed by the news. Here, he became familiar with the American immunologist Dr Anthony Fauci. “His messaging was so direct. I needed to know the reality and he gave it as it was,” the Maison Margiela designer recalls. Through the magnifying glass of quarantine, Galliano detected a desire for clarity in our collective consciousness, key to the future of fashion. 

“It’s not the first time I’ve been forced to stop, pause and reset, and be more mindful and aware. Once you accept the situation, you are able to move on and evolve,” he reflects, hinting at his own recovery a decade ago. “When I came back into fashion, I remember saying to myself, ‘Nothing will have changed, but your perspective on it can change, John.’ I’ve been applying that to this situation: be patient, be kind to yourself. If we’re going to take this time to reset, let’s move forward. I say, ‘Bring it on, John!’ That’s the job of a designer.” 

While striving for transparency, Galliano believes in preserving the authentic haute couture craftsmanship that feeds into every collection he creates. “I would love for people to witness the fittings we do – the work that goes into the process – so that when you do eventually meander into a store, you can connect with the values and ethics of Maison Margiela,” he says. “For the creative process to disappear and turn into cookiecutter fashion? No way! I will stand till the last one. There can’t be fashion if there’s no time for the dressmaker. And now, that role will be revalued.” 

Galliano’s romance with creativity has been affirmed. “Fashion is my lover. She taunts me, devours me, pushes me to strive for excellence; to create, to breathe, to live,” he smiles. “The passion, the energy! Fashion is the blood that pumps through this house, and through my heart.”

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