LONDON - Almost four years after being effectively banished from the Paris fashion scene, Dior's former star designer John Galliano made what some hailed as a triumphant return on Monday with a haute couture show in London.
The 54-year-old British designer is widely regarded as one of the most flamboyant and successful fashion minds of his generation, but was fired by Dior in 2011 after he was caught on camera making anti-Semitic remarks in a Paris cafe.
Since then, Galliano has acknowledged having undergone treatment for drugs and alcohol, and worked briefly as a designer for New York fashion brand Oscar de la Renta in 2013.
Maison Martin Margiela gave him a permanent role when it appointed him creative director in October.
Among the supporters who attended his new Margiela show in London, which featured several striking red dresses, were model Kate Moss, whose wedding dress Galliano designed, and the Burberry Chief Executive Officer Christopher Bailey.
Other fashion world figures in the front row expressed their support for Galliano's return from the wilderness. "It's John Galliano so it's okay, it's fabulous," accessory designer Manolo Blahnik told Reuters.
"It's a beautiful show. I am glad he's working again." Hilary Alexander, veteran fashion journalist and former fashion editor of the Daily Telegraph newspaper, could not contain her excitement at the return of the enfant terrible.
"The show was sensational," she said. "I am absolutely thrilled, I am ecstatic, I couldn't be happier. "It was Galliano at his very best, on peak form and surprising and delightful and just wonderful ... There were ribbons and incredible masks and shells and gilt and gold and embroidery and tailored trouser suits."
Galliano, a graduate of London's prestigious Central Saint Martin's College, had won praise from fashion critics for his theatrical, romantic shows at Dior as well as for his creative designs for his John Galliano brand, which is still owned and run by LVMH, the world's biggest luxury group.