Galliano Gets on the Couch
Atoning designer opens up to French psychiatrist Boris Cyrulnik
John Galliano, the former Christian Dior designer whose reputation and career imploded in 2011 after a video surfaced of a drunk, racist rant in which he said things like “I love Hitler” to French café patrons he thought were Jewish, is back in the news, this time with a journalist-accompanied psychiatry session.
Galliano, who was given the ADL’s blessing after his lengthy rehabilitation, in which he sought help for substance abuse issues but also reportedly met with rabbis and Holocaust survivors and read books about Judaism, recently brought along a journalist from French newsweekly Le Point to a session with well-known French psychiatrist Boris Cyrulnik, WWD reports. And while the coverage of Galliano’s every potentially offensive move—and outfit—has grown from tedious to downright exhausting (we’re guilty, too; le sigh), this latest news from the Galliano front seems a bit, well, therapeutic. Also, a Nazi-fleeing Jewish psychiatrist treating a designer whose downfall-inducing anti-Semitic rant involved references to people being “gassed” sounds like a something out of a seriously dark movie. That I’d totally watch.
Cyrulnik, who is Jewish and is said to have escaped Nazi-led capture as a child, is a proponent of psychological resilience. Le Point said Galliano requested the meeting as part of his recovery, which includes three weekly meetings with a psychotherapist specializing in addiction.
The designer confessed to Cyrulnik he has worn many masks in his life to gain acceptance and hide feelings of shame, fear and suffering. Asked if he felt he was punished too severely for outbursts he blamed on multiple addictions and work-related stress, Galliano told the doctor, “I’ve lost, but I also gained a lot. I’m a creative person, and no one can take that away from me. I’ve been told I committed professional suicide because it was the only escape from the terrible pressures I was facing. What do you think?”
Cyrulnik, who characterized suicidal thoughts as the desire for a ‘new’ life, essentially prescribed the designer some tough love. Namely, a “balanced routine of work and rest to keep inner demons at bay.”
Dayenu, Galliano. Dayenu.
The 1921 work, ‘Woman Sitting in an Armchair,’ was found in Munich in 2011