John Galliano has admitted that he was so dependent on alcohol and prescription pills, he feared he would 'end up in a mental asylum or six feet under.'
In his first interview since he was fired from Christian Dior after an anti-Semitic tirade in a Paris bar in 2011, the British fashion designer, 52, tells the July issue of Vanity Fair that he existed in a bubble so protective that he did not even know how to use an ATM.
Describing his gradual decline into addiction, he says he first used alcohol as 'a crutch outside of Dior' and to 'crash after the collections'.
But he admits his reliance on booze to function outside of work spiraled out of control, making him 'a slave to it.'
He says he turned to pills because he couldn’t sleep, and began taking more because he couldn’t stop shaking. 'I would also have these huge bottles of liquor that people got for me,' he said. 'Towards the end, it was whatever I could get my hands on. Vodka, or vodka-and-tonic. Wine, in the belief it would help me sleep. . . I had all these voices in my head, asking so many questions.'
Mr Galliano admits he would lose days at a time to drinking binges, and would come to filthy, 'covered in sores and humiliated'. He also suffered from tremors and an inability to sleep for days at a time.
Friends tried to intervene - but when Bernard Arnault, chairman of LVMH, which owns Christian Dior, told him he would be dead if he didn’t sort himself out, Mr Galliano supposedly tore off his shirt to reveal his toned body and said: 'Does this look like the body of an alcoholic?'
He told the magazine's contributing editor, Ingrid Sischy, that this was his first-ever sober interview and that he has now been sober for over two years.
Reflecting on the anti-Semitic rant two years ago, Mr Galliano told Vanity Fair that he threw up when he saw the video. 'It's the worst thing I have said in my life, but I didn’t mean it.' he told the magazine. ‘I have been trying to find out why that anger was directed at this race. I now realize I was so fucking angry and so discontent with myself that I just said the most spiteful thing I could.’
He said that he does not hate Jews and that his drinking and drug abuse were to blame.
Over the last two years he has stayed sober, met with Jewish community leaders and is now even grateful the episode happened - as he feels he is in a better place in his life.
Mr Galliano - a favorite of Madonna, Nicole Kidman and many other celebrities - was fired from his job as head designer of Christian Dior following the February 2011 rant at a bar in Paris, the second such incident in the space of a week.
Speaking to a group of French and Italian diners he thought were Jewish, he drunkenly told them: 'I love Hitler.' He went on: 'People like you would be dead. Your mothers, your forefathers, would all be fucking gassed.'
The comments were filmed on a mobile phone and Mr Galliano was later found guilty of making anti-Semitic comments by a French court and fined £5,200 before checking into an Arizona rehab clinic.
In the Vanity Fair interview, he said: 'It sounds a bit bizarre, but I am so grateful for what did happen.
'I have learned so much about myself. I have re-discovered that little boy who had the hunger to create, which I think I had lost. I am alive.'
Despite his behavior, Mr Galliano was never entirely alone, and during his first visitors weekend in rehab in Arizona the model Linda Evangelista flew in to see him.
A few weeks later, Kate Moss asked him to design her wedding dress, something they had discussed when he was still at Dior. The model reveals that her guests gave him a standing ovation during her father's speech when he praised the dress.
Mr Galliano said: 'Creating Kate’s wedding dress saved me personally because it was my creative rehab. She dared me to be me again.'
But he has also provoked criticism when one of his outfits appeared to resemble clothes worn by Hasidic Jews - a claim Mr Galliano vigorously denied.
TAMARA ABRAHAM and DANIEL BATES
JUNE 4, 2013
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