Can.I.Rock.it?

Fashion can be a Real Bitch

In I spied... on February 28, 2011 at 8:08 pm

Galliano’s Aggressive Rants Shed an Unflattering Light on Fashion Behind the Scenes

To refresh your memory: 

I love Hitler”, says John Galliano, creative head of fashion house, Dior. In a drink-fuelled rant caught on tape, the 50-year old fashion designer was shown sitting alone at a table of a Parisian cafe, slurring abuse at some women sat near to him. “People like you would be dead. Your mothers, your forefathers, would all be f****** gassed… because you’re ugly.” Anti-semitic remarks are in fact illegal in France and the designer was arrested, later suspended from his position at Dior and finally found guilty by the French courts on charges of anti-semitic behavior.

According to police reports filed the night of his arrest obtained by Le Figaro, Galliano also said the following catty remarks about the woman’s looks: “You are so ugly I cannot even look at you.” He added, “You have low-end boots, disgusting thighs. You don’t have hair, your eyebrows are ugly, you’re disgusting, you’re nothing but a bitch.” And finished with, “I am the designer John Galliano.”

In case you missed it… How to end your career … 3, 2, 1, play the video.

Can we blame it on the alcohol? Perhaps to answer that question you need only to think of how many nice people you know that actually turn into vile, slurring bullies when they have a few too many drinks (personally, I don’t know any).

Whether Galliano is obviously a closet anti-semitic or not, the principle impression I get from this footage of the couturier is that he clearly has one heck of a nasty streak, reminiscent of personal encounters I’ve experienced one too many times dabbling in the fashion industry, even at arms length.

We all know the fashion world is bitchy, but why? And why should we put up with it?

Having worked in various fashion jobs, I’m mentally picturing my previous bosses and colleagues when I say that I just don’t think many of them were happy or even content people.

In an industry selling an elitist view of beauty, it seems this kind of disdain and separation from ordinary society pops up quite regularly in fashion.

I present Fashion’s Bitchiest…


The Boss Lady:

“Anna Wintour is my fairy godmother, I certainly wouldn’t be at the house of Dior if it wasn’t for her support”, John Galliano once said. Known as the Darth Vader of fashion, Anna Wintour’s character was famously portrayed as cold, elitist, intimidating and highly critical in the screen adaptation of The Devil Wears Prada written by her former personal assistant.

Anna is the queen bee.

With her power, she shapes and molds much of the industry’s direction and it is her immense influence that trickles down the food chain and spreads throughout the fashion world.

Many high-ranked females working in fashion model themselves on Anna Wintour in how she commands a Machiavellian fear from her employees as a form of respect and getting things accomplished. Usually single or divorced (like Anna), they are neurotic, ruthless and obsessed by their work. You can’t help thinking is it a substitute for something else?

Perhaps if you have worked in the fashion industry, you will have noticed how the tendency to be critical is so allowed and so condoned that making others feel inferior is quite the norm. In other words, they are pretty awful environments to be working in if you happen to possess a nice bone in your body.

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The Male Designers/ Stylists:


“No one wants to see curvy women. You’ve got fat mothers with their bags of chips sitting in front of the television and saying that thin models are ugly.”

Sensationally playing up to his stereo type, Karl Lagerfeld quoted by Focus.

A male creative (often openly gay) has a notorious reputation in the industry for being particularly brutal towards women. He often has an extremely sharp tongue and wouldn’t give a second look to anyone he thinks isn’t ‘somebody’ in the industry. He was most likely bullied in school for being too feminine and is now making up for it by being a bully of all bullies himself. They send models down the runway looking like adolescent boys, as emaciated as they are angry… does anyone see the connection?

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The Fashion Assistants

She has a “weird” relationship with food and her general self image but consoles herself with her fast fashionable lifestyle, fitting into those jeans and knowing she can call anyone fat because she isn’t. They are notoriously the worst paid but best dressed at fashion shows. Absolutely wicked witches on the telephone.

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The Shop Assistants


I doubt a single reader will not be able to relate to this one. We’ve all come across that evil shop assistant who looks at you up and down, judging by your slightly scuffed shoes that you are not worth his/her time and therefore will proceed to be as unhelpful and unwelcoming as possible. I’d like to take this opportunity to name and shame the sales assistants at the Colette shop in Paris who actually get me pretty angry at how rude and dismissive they can be.

I had to include the infamous shopping scene from Pretty Woman!

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The Front Row


Daily Mail journalist, Liz Jones recently asked:

“Why are women who work in fashion so bitchy? Take London Fashion Week… At Burberry, I asked a fashion editor if she would watch my bag while I went to chat to Sarah Jessica Parker.

‘Um, I would, if it were this season. Do you really care if it goes missing?’

I don’t think I have ever felt more disenchanted with what I do for a living than I have done over the past few days.

Isn’t fashion supposed to be about making women feel good about themselves, about creativity and fun and humour and female solidarity?”

The fashion world at present is by no means our friend. While many insist the industry aims to be aspirational to women, it is realistically controlled at this moment by people who want to intimidate, alienate and disassociate themselves from the general public.

What MessyNessy would recommend to the industry, is that it starts to show a little bit of compassion and a dose of humility. Otherwise, I smell fashion anarchy. Kinda like what’s happening over in the Middle East…

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  1. Snobby people and snobby stores! Galliano opens his foul mouth and becomes the perfect example of a frustrated hack. By asserting his assistants ideas as his own he alone defeats mediocrity. A noble mission if it were in fact true..If he really had talent, he would use his own name, not suck his reputation from the truly famous. He rides Dior, not the other way around. When he is gone, (likely soon!) no one will remember his woman & Jew hater attitudes, all these smug jerks need to learn their time has come and gone. It has all been replaced by Beautiful designs,luxurious fabrics and friendly sales people! hmmmm?

  2. this is one of the best posts i’ve read on your blog! i absolutely love it & agree with you 100%! there’s soooooo much truth to what you’ve said… great post!!!

    xoxo

  3. Amazingly accurate post, I love the breakdown of the stereotypes! The fashion industry is like this weird medieval feudal system, operated on hate, elitism and backwardness on every level. You have the peasants (assistants, stylists etc) the courtiers (editors, models) and the kings/queens (designers) One wonders is it brainwashing, or do these types of people just naturally come together?

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