John Galliano on Trial: Confidential Details Emerge

john galliano
Photo: Patrick McMullan
New details have emerged about John Galliano's trial, which  will begin tomorrow.

As the fashion world braces itself for John Galliano's Paris trial on June 22, new details have emerged about the night that sparked the former Dior designer's downward spiral.

Claiming access to the "confidential file" used by investigators in the case against Galliano, Newsweek has pieced together the circumstances of the February 24 bar confrontation that resulted in the 50-year-old's arrest for allegedly making anti-Semitic statements.

But to understand how one of fashion's brightest stars could fall from grace, it helps to first look at the events leading up to that fateful night.

Sources tell the magazine that "the designer's personal decline began in earnest" when his close friend Steven Robinson died in 2007. As the Gibraltar-born designer began acting more erratically, the recession forced Dior executives to demand a more buyer-friendly "corporate couture" aesthetic, putting him under yet more pressure.

At the time of his detainment, Galliano—who was so notoriously temperamental that, according to the court dossier, his driver called a lawyer as soon as expletives started flying on Feb. 24—was already thought to be on his way out at Dior, insiders speculate.

It is believed that the defense for Galliano, who is reported to be leaving rehab treatment to attend his court trial, will blame his actions on his addictions to alcohol and anti-anxiety medication. Though the designer told police, "I do not consume any drugs," tests showed his alcohol intake to be four times the legal driving limit.

"I drank champagne at lunch, during the afternoon I had a glass of champagne while I did my shopping, I had dinner at a brasserie where I had some more champagne, and finally at the La Perle bar I had a mojito," he explained to police, adding that he'd sipped some of a second mojito prior to his arrest.

According to the court dossier, what happened next is this: Sitting at a sidewalk table at the La Perle bar in the fashionable Marais district of Paris, Galliano engaged in a heated war of words with fellow patrons, during which he "tossed off anti-Semitic slurs and racist insults," a crime punishable in France by up to six months in jail and a €22,500 (about $32,300 U.S.) fine .

Géraldine Bloch, a 35-year-old bar patron, was allegedly told by the designer that she was "a dirty whore" with a "dirty Jewish face," "revolting" eyebrows, and "low-end boots and low-end thighs."

Meanwhile, 41-year-old receptionist Philippe Virgitti (who later defended Galliano) was allegedly called a "f--king Asian bastard" and a "dirty Asian s--t," and asked if he had papers to prove he wasn't an illegal immigrant.

During a police questioning held days later, Galliano denied the accusations.

“How would I know she’s Jewish?" Galliano asked of Bloch, who is in fact not Jewish. “It isn’t written on her forehead. It’s clear that I’m neither a racist, nor an anti-Semite, nor a misogynist. It’s possible this lady and her friend would like to profit from this chance [and] get some money and publicity in a sordid way."

Bloch, however, is asking for a symbolic payment of just one euro in addition to court costs, and says that her life has been "severely disrupted" by the publicity surrounding the case.

With just one day to go before Galliano gets his day in court, his admirers are struggling to explain the incident, as well as the leaked video showing him proclaiming, "I love Hitler."

“The whole thing struck me as completely out of character,” Daphne Guinness tells Newsweek. “He was drunk and isolated and looking for the most outrageous thing he could say, and instead of hanging himself [like the late Alexander McQueen], he just said something. Maybe he has a secret stash of Nazi uniforms, but I just don’t think so.”

In related news, the John Galliano incident has impacted sales of his latest namesake fragrance.