For a fashion house, the impact cannot be understated.
Natalie Portman is the face of Miss Dior Cherie Perfume and was widely expected to wear a gown from the couture design house to the Oscars on Sunday night, where she was favored to win the Oscar for Best Actress.
But when Portman took the stage to accept her award, the flowing wine-coloured maternity gown she wore was not by Dior. Rather, she ascended the steps in a gown by a different designer – Rodarte, who was behind the designs for Portman’s Oscar-winning movie Black Swan.
The loss of PR for Dior by not dressing the Oscar winner is incalculable. The reason for Portman’s last minute switch is believed to be simple: John Galliano.
Galliano, head designer for Dior, has been under investigation for making anti-semitic remarks several times recently, including as late as last Thursday when he hurled both anti-semitic and anti-asian insults at a couple in a Paris cafe. Yesterday, incontrovertible evidence arose in the form of a video showing Galliano on a foul, anti-semitic rant. Portman’s response was swift, saying in a statement:
I am deeply shocked and disgusted by the video of John Galliano’s comments that surfaced today. In light of this video, and as an individual who is proud to be Jewish, I will not be associated with Mr. Galliano in any way. I hope at the very least, these terrible comments remind us to reflect and act upon combating these still-existing prejudices that are the opposite of all that is beautiful.
The House of Dior had no choice. They had already lost incalculable PR at the Oscars and could not afford to lose any more. Despite it being the first day of Paris Fashion week, and despite the fact that a show of Galliano’s own fashions is scheduled to go ahead on Sunday, Galliano has been dismissed from the House of Dior as of today.
Photo credit: Dave_B on Flickr.