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Can Galliano Go Home Again?

John Galliano, Bernard Arnault
I would not discount Bernard Arnault’s loyal nature: Galliano — pictured here with Arnault in 2004 — played a large role in the rise of LVMH. Photo: Stephane Cardinale/Corbis/Getty Images
Lauren Sherman
April 15, 2024

There was plenty to chew on from the Vogue World press conference in Paris back in February: The Place Vendôme coup, the buy-in of both LVMH and the French government, the sheer magnitude of staging such an event in the lead-up to this summer’s Olympics. Walking out of the Ritz that night, however, all I could think about was the casual conversation I’d witnessed during arrivals between Sidney Toledano—the former C.E.O. of Dior, former head of the LVMH Fashion Group, and current head of the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture—and his long-ago designer, John Galliano. The Maison Margiela creative director was seated on a curved-back sofa with his boyfriend, Alexis Roche, facing out into the gilded Salon Marie-Louise. 

It wasn’t surprising that Toledano and Galliano were exchanging pleasantries. I had just previewed the documentary High & Low, the Condé Nast-produced, Kevin Macdonald-directed attempt at charting Galliano’s rise (he was appointed to Givenchy in 1995, and then to Dior), his fall (in 2011, following a drunken, antisemitic rant), and his third act at Margiela. I wouldn’t say Macdonald did anything to exonerate the designer—his shortcomings are obvious—but the relationship between Toledano and Galliano is carefully, honestly, and vividly depicted. (Galliano’s visit to the Dior archives is the emotional peak.) Toledano’s feelings about Galliano—his addiction, his rants—are more believable than anything else.