This blog post was revised in light of the ADL’s statement.
What’s up with I Love Hitler/I No Longer Love Hitler fashion designer John Galliano stealing my youngest son’s Purim costume?
The New York Post uses its front page to take aim at what the paper describes as Galliano’s hasidic chic look for Fashion Week: [[READMORE]]
But, according to the ADL’s Abe Foxman, the Post story is a "ridiculous, absurd distortion."
"There is no truth to their accusation that John Galliano was dressed in Hasidic garb, and anyone familiar with the dress of traditional Orthodox Jews should not mistake what Galliano is wearing in the photograph as ‘Hasidic garb,’" Foxman said in a statement. "Hasidim do not wear fedora hats, pinstripe pants, blue jackets or an ascot tie. This is John Galliano being John Galliano."
Just to refresh: A video went viral in 2011 of Galliano in a Paris cafe declaring, “I love Hitler!” He was subsequently sacked by Christian Dior and convicted in France of making racist insults. With Natalie Portman setting the tone, he was shunned by the fashion industry. But the ADL recently applauded his "recovery and redemption", and this week was supposed to be a big first step back into the fashion world’s inner circle.
So what to make of his new look?
The Post quotes two Orthodox politicos in Brooklyn accusing Galliano of mocking their community:
“He’s trying to embarrass people in the Jewish community and make money on clothes [while] dressed like people he has insulted,” fumed Williamsburg community leader Isaac Abraham. It looks like the hairstyle he added was done purposely to insult.”
“Who is he mocking?” added Brooklyn Assemblyman Dov Hikind. “The way the socks look, the jacket, the peyos . . . My question is, who’s he laughing at?
“If it was just anyone else, I wouldn’t know what to say. But considering who this guy is, considering his background and what he’s said in the past, let him explain it to all of us: Are you mocking us?”
But The Post’s fashion editor, Serena French, took issue with her paper’s sartorial sniping:
Believe it or not, John Galliano’s costume is not a mark of disrespect.
The designer, who was disgraced for making Anti-Semitic remarks to a woman in a Paris café, donned this garb as a form of atonement. … In his own way, he was attempting to show sympathy and a connection with the very people he has offended.
And, of course, French wrote, Galliano loves the limelight:
For the flamboyant designer, this outfit is meant to be an attention grabber. He had a bright spotlight once and probably misses it. He’s used to courting controversy and this is the perfect way to put himself back in the conversation on his own terms.
UPDATE: Here is the full text of the statement from the ADL’s Abe Foxman saying that the Post got it wrong:
The New York Post story is a ridiculous, absurd distortion. There is no truth to their accusation that John Galliano was dressed in Hasidic garb, and anyone familiar with the dress of traditional Orthodox Jews should not mistake what Galliano is wearing in the photograph as “Hasidic garb.” Hasidim do not wear fedora hats, pinstripe pants, blue jackets or an ascot tie.
This is John Galliano being John Galliano. His dress is always eccentric and his hair is always worn long. This is, at the very least, ignorance on the part of the reporters and editors at the Post, or, at worst, a deliberate, malicious distortion in an effort to sell newspapers.
For the past year and a half, Mr. Galliano has been on a pilgrimage to learn from and grow from his mistakes. Now people are trying to distort and destroy him. He has spent hours with me and with others in the European Jewish community, including rabbis and Holocaust scholars, in an effort to better understand himself and to learn from his past mistakes. He is trying very hard to atone.