I LOVE fashion and it is very hard to deny oneself the beauty of a garment or collection based on a moral difference with a designer. As a result, we tend to overlook the fact that Chanel collaborated with Nazis and enjoyed their protection, living with a high commanding Nazi officer at the Ritz during the war, and taking advantage of Aryan laws to remove the production of her perfume from a Jewish-owned perfume-production company. (read a summary of Chanel and the Nazis here)
To get away from a religious slant, we also overlook the awful treatment of mink, sables, foxes, etc. because a girl has been programmed to love a mink coat. Realizing that this is cruel does not require a vegan/PETA-advocator heart. However, we laud Donna Karan and other collections for their tremendous use of fur.
I feel that we are able to distance ourselves because, no matter the beauty of the garments, we don’t have to see it. We don’t need to think about Chanel’s actions when we carry a 2.55, put on some Chanel Number 5, or wear the label’s couture. We don’t wonder why hers was one of the few fashion houses to survive the war….we just enjoy the fact that it did. In the winter, all one has to think about is getting and staying warm. Not about the means in which this is reached.
However, last week, Galliano forced us to think about it and today we got to see it. When he was arrested and Dior suspended him, even with rumblings about anti-semitic remarks many fashion sources panned the fashion house for this treatment of their top designer. He’s a genius, he’s a star, he’s Galliano. You’re supposed to stand by him…no matter what. But now we have the proof, proof I believe was behind Dior’s initial actions. It’s hard to ignore what Galliano said, did, or the fact that anonymous sources from Dior say that this is not the first time that he has made these kinds of remarks. I don’t care what caused these remarks (seen below), nothing can require these comments.
Our generation has been called on many times to make sacrifices in the form of ethics or morality. Don’t buy from this country, they practice ______. Don’t do x, it harms y. It starts at the fringes and moves, eventually, to mainstream.
It will be interesting to see how people’s morality and beliefs affect their purchasing-habits and support of a (and I will admit it) great designer. Will he suffer the Mel Gibson fate…or will fashion be the one to allow history to repeat itself and forget. I don’t know what the best action is. But I can tell you that this girl is proud of Dior and does not plan on buying Galliano anytime soon.