Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Galliano Naming Rights— and Wrongs

Bill Gayten carries baggage

 Fashion is not just fun. It's not even just a business. It's serious stuff, sometimes in very polarizing ways. I refer to John Galliano's downfall as the designer for Christian Dior after a series of anti-semitic rants (even captured on You Tube) in 2011. I never brought it up before as it was sad to realize how a talented and successful man could be so stupid and clueless. In my opinion his fall from grace was well-deserved. And I'd rather not comment on his attempts at redemption.

John Galliano the brand still exists, owned by the conglomerate LVMH. It is not designed by Galliano, who is now the creative director of Maison Margiela. The designer of Galliano's namesake line is Bill Gayten, his former number two at Dior.

The Sunday New York Times recently ran an article titled, "One John Galliano Too Many". You may copy-and-paste here:


The John Galliano brand isn't garnering much attention but soon may as it begins producing a somewhat lower-priced line unattached to the couture stratosphere. I'm not in the position to buy any of this, so my opinion hardly matters. I did feel compelled to write the New York Times a letter to the editor. Chances of that being published are slim, so I'm putting it out into my own little corner of cyberspace:

Why recognize a man who still has a lot to atone for by legitimizing his name as a brand? Sure, it must rankle Galliano that he does not design it himself, but that is irony not punishment. I pity Bill Gayten who toils under a shadow and a burden. Why did the powers that could not change the name to something like "Nhoj Onaillag" (that up-and-coming Icelandic designer)? Or even "Bill Gayten"?

This is messy real life that shouldn't be swept under the carpet.


  1. I suppose it is all about name recognition. "Galliano" is going to ring bells in consumers' minds as a designer brand where as Nhoj Onaillag and Bill Gayten are, I suspect, totally unknown to the vast majority of shoppers. There probably is something in the idea that no publicity is bad publicity when you're a big conglomerate like LVMH who are trying to push the merch.

  2. Your last sentence certainly sums it up and would seem to be the answer to my query!

  3. Personally I think Galliano should be forgiven. He's been punished for his transgressions and he was really harassed by those horrid women who got his outbreak on tape. I also think it's really gross to use someone's name on a brand that they're not designing, unless they've passed. Galliano isn't dead, so don't use his name. If his name is good enough to use on a line, then surely you could use the actual designer to design the work!

    1. I see the logic in forgiving Galliano over using his name on a brand he didn't design. It's marginally okay when the designer is dead, but I bet Chanel is rolling in her grave at what Karl Lagerfeld has done to hers. But that's a rant for another day!