Photo courtesy ivillage.ca
By now you have probably heard the rumors, and the subsequent confirmation this week, that John Galliano will be teaching a master class titled ‘Show me Emotion’ at Parsons The New School for Design in New York City. The class will be offered to BFA candidates with a minimum 3.0 GPA.
The description for the class from the school’s website is as follows;
‘Emphasis is placed upon process disruption, improvisational methods, and trans-disciplinary based outcomes articulating acute awareness of personal identity. Using intuition and emotion as essential ingredients towards authentic design, students will be encouraged to engage with Galliano in all aspects of the creative process including the intense pressure of sustaining a role at the very top of the design world.’
By Thursday afternoon a group of students sent a petition demanding Galliano be fired immediately, and I began wondering how my connections in the design industry feel about Galliano’s latest attempt to reinvent himself. I got several of them to weigh in.
Should we move on, or should we continue to condemn Galliano for his past indiscretions? Personally I believe in second chances, but having said that I want to be clear that I do not approve of the things he said in the Paris restaurant video.
I asked 4 friends at the top of their game in the design industry to chime in: one of my favorite designers, John Bartlett., celebrity stylist, designer and TV personality Wayne Scot Lukas., interior designer (and our design editor) Carl Lana., and fellow fashion editor Ian Michael Luke Turner of Chasseur Magazine. Here’s what they had to say;
JB: “John Galliano is a master, and his teaching a master class is super exciting. I wish I could go! He has so much to express and will be a wonderful mentor to these young students. I am excited to see what he does next!”
WSL: “If you are “lucky enough” to be in the presence of the master John Galliano teaching a master class, then you are lucky indeed! If Parsons’ students want to have this petition against John comparing him to someone in the Ku Klux Klan, then they need to also ban all classes about Coco Chanel because she herself was a Nazi sympathizer. Watching someone’s sloppy drunken tirade, and basing their talent on that is pure rubbish.”
CL: “Genius has its shortcomings. The creative individual has an inherent imbalance which sets them apart from the masses. I surely do not condone any form of disrespect or discrimination towards anyone. John Galliano is a brilliant designer who has taken risks throughout his career. Ultimately, he did not hurt anyone and people do make mistakes – let him who has no blemish throw the first stone. I say give him a platform to redeem himself.”
IMLT: “It is undeniable that Galliano ranks as one of the most brilliant creative forces to have emerged in modern fashion. I am all for the proverbial second chance, however since his firing from Dior for anti-Semitic remarks the man has hardly skirted controversy. The Parsons decision, while obvious in terms of the benefits to students for what the designer has to offer, is questionable at best in a city with such deep Jewish ties.”
It seems that only one thing is clear as this drama unfolds in the press; the end of this story is yet to be written. What do you think about Galliano teaching at Parsons? We’d love to hear your thoughts.
Written by Anthony Costa