John Galliano’s posting as a teacher at a New York design school has ended before it even got a chance to begin. The designer was supposed to lead a three-day master class called “SHOW ME EMOTION,” but according to an e-mail sent to students at Parsons The New School for Design, Galliano and the school couldn’t come to terms on the nature of a forum that would include a “frank discussion” about his career’s “trajectory.”
To the Parsons community:
We are writing to follow-up on messages we shared with you on April 26 about the planned workshop with John Galliano. It was a condition of our agreeing to host Mr. Galliano that we also hold a larger forum, which would include a frank discussion of his career. Ultimately, an agreement could not be reached with Mr. Galliano regarding the details of that forum, and so the program will not move forward.
As we have expressed over the past weeks, a critical element of a New School education is the connection between creative and intellectual invention and an individual’s actions in the world at large. While we understand the pressures Mr. Galliano faces, we expected to invite students, faculty and staff to ask Mr. Galliano how his trajectory as a designer was changed by his offensive remarks and to learn from that example.
We continue to believe there is room at Parsons to explore Mr. Galliano’s efforts to make amends for his actions and that members of our community will decide for themselves how to view his contributions. It is certain this would not have been an easy or comfortable conversation but our mission is to provide uncommon learning opportunities that transcend the boundaries of the disciplines. We apologize to those students who anticipated participating in the workshop and to all those who looked forward to engaging Mr. Galliano in discussion.
Over the last several weeks, many members of the university community wrote to express their views about this visit. Regardless of your opinion, you remind us all that it is our commitment to debate, and our willingness to support the possibility of change, that makes Parsons and The New School such an extraordinary place to learn.
It’s signed by David E. Van Zandt, Tim Marshall, and Joel Towers, the president, provost, and executive dean, respectively.
Galliano was at the top of the fashion world when in 2011 he was caught on camera making anti-Semitic remarks. He was summarily spurned by the fashion world and even fined by a court in Paris.
In recent months he has attempted a comeback, working in famed designer Oscar de la Renta’s studio in Manhattan, and attending New York Fashion week in February.