John Galliano

June 20, 2024

Born on November 28, 1960, in Gibraltar, John Galliano (Juan Carlos Antonio Galliano-Guillén) is a distinguished British fashion designer recognized for his contributions to ready-to-wear and haute-couture collections for esteemed fashion houses such as Christian Dior, Givenchy, and Maison Margiela.

John Galliano biography

Galliano, hailing from a family with Spanish roots, made the journey from Gibraltar to south London at the tender age of six. Despite a less-than-stellar academic record at Wilson’s Grammar School for Boys, his passion for textile design led him to East London College at the age of 16. Continuing his education in 1980 at Central Saint Martins in London, Galliano developed a deep appreciation for historical costuming. His 1984 graduate collection, titled “Les Incroyables” and inspired by the French Revolution, immediately caught the eye of a prominent London fashion boutique owner, who purchased it straight from the college’s catwalk. Graduating with first-class honors, Galliano swiftly became the “boy wonder” of British fashion, securing the British Fashion Council Designer of the Year titles in 1987 and 1994.

john galliano designer

Facing financial hardships and declaring bankruptcy twice, Galliano’s fortunes changed in 1994 when Swiss-born New York-based investment banker John A. Bult stepped in to rescue his business. Subsequently, an atelier near Place de la Bastille in Paris became Galliano’s new creative hub. In 1995, he took over from the esteemed Hubert de Givenchy and showcased his debut couture collection, earning him his third consecutive British Designer of the Year award.

john galliano biography

Assuming the role of designer in chief at the Dior fashion house in 1996, Galliano’s company was acquired by Louis Vuitton Möet Hennessy (LVMH). Bernard Arnault, the head of LVMH, aimed to attract a younger clientele to both couture and ready-to-wear lines. Galliano’s leadership at Dior breathed new life into haute couture, and his unique position as the designer in chief for both Dior and Givenchy solidified his influence in the fashion world. While expressing a preference for Dior’s New Look over Givenchy’s conservative designs, Galliano’s impact continued to resonate.

john galliano designer

Galliano received the French Legion of Honor in 2009. However, in 2011, allegations of anti-Semitism led to his dismissal from both Dior and his eponymous fashion house. Following rehabilitation for drug and alcohol addiction, Galliano issued apologies for his controversial remarks. In 2013, he collaborated on Oscar de la Renta’s fall collection, and in 2014, he assumed the role of creative director at Maison Martin Margiela.

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