Aged just 40 years old, Alexander McQueen’s untimely death in 2010 shook the fashion industry and revealed a secret world of self torment. It’s not only the models living in a painful strive for perfection – but the designers themselves.
Sadly though, the terrible pressures subjected upon McQueen that ultimately resulted in his suicide are not a rare occurrence. When John Galliano spoke up in a recent interview, he described how he identifies with the feelings of perfection faced by fellow designer, saying “I understand.”
Speaking frankly to talk show host Charlie Rose, he revealed the life of a designer to be, “as addicts, we’re in such perfection, we’re setting the bar impossibly high.”
The interview marks Galliano’s first broadcast interview since being stripped as Creative Director for Dior in 2011 for a series of anti-Semitic comments. Regretful of his actions, he says “I’m so grateful that I am alive – not for what happened, but as a result of what happened, I have been able to spend some time on myself, understand these emotions that I couldn’t express – the difference between emotions and feelings and how I could change that,”
Galliano’s refusal to turn down a project subjected him to a huge level of pressure, and eventually resulted in a drink and drug dependence in order to cope with the huge demand for success. Debuting a whopping 32 collections a year for Dior, as well as his own label, the more Galliano’s work was praised, the higher the bar rose, eventually meaning he was ”emotionally, spiritually, physically and mentally bankrupt. I didn’t know it, but I had a very big breakdown.”
Currently sober for 2 years and 3 months sober, Galliano reflects clearly on the dark time, as well as empathising with McQueen’s struggle, describing the drive to produce a successful collection as, “that’s what wakes us up in the morning.”
For now, Galliano is, “concentrating on recovery daily – that will be a lifetime of work. I’m trying to make amends. I have upset many people. I need to reach out them… I hope through my atonement I will be given a second chance.”Watch the rest of the interview here.