Has Fashion Canceled Canceling?

The recent history of John Galliano, Dolce & Gabbana and even Ye suggests the answer may be yes.

“John Galliano, High & Low,” the feature-length documentary about the former Dior designer’s fall from grace after a drunken antisemitic rant in a Paris bar in 2011, and his long climb back, is interesting for a number of reasons. It is a chance to hear from Mr. Galliano himself about his struggles, for one, and to look back at the fashion world of the 1990s. But just as striking is the number of think pieces it has spawned meditating on Mr. Galliano’s transgressions, repentance and, it seems, current state of forgiveness.

Indeed, the film’s greatest significance may have less to do with the story it tells than with what it seems to represent: the official end of Mr. Galliano’s time in the wilderness. It serves as a coda to a period that began with his firing from Dior and subsequent conviction for hate crimes and that lasted through a prolonged period of atonement and a new job at Maison Margiela, where Mr. Galliano’s work is once again being celebrated.

As such, it also reflects a shift away from the era of outrage, particularly in fashion. “It does seem like, in the end, everyone is allowed back in,” said Achim Berg, a former lead of McKinsey & Company’s global apparel, fashion and luxury group.

John Galliano, seen in the Dior archive looking at one of his former designs, in a still from the documentary about his career. He is among a list of once disgraced, now re-emerging members of the fashion elite. Nicholas Matthews/Mubi/Alamy

Though individuals in other industries have been canceled and have returned to public life — Aziz Ansari and Louis C.K. spring to mind — fashion is unique in the way it uses people to humanize brands, meaning their actions are intrinsically connected to the fortunes of a much larger company, as are their creations.

Perhaps the only equivalent is the restaurant world, though designers and celebrities generally have higher name recognition than even the most famous chefs, and the financial implications are significantly greater. As a result, it is possible that in this case, as with many trends, whither fashion, whither the culture. Or vice versa.

SOURCE: New York Times

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