Here’s something we didn’t expect on a dreary Thursday morning: disgraced Dior designer John Galliano’s full interview with Charlie Rose is already online, after just filming yesterday. Another interesting twist: Galliano looks totally (dare we say) normal, wearing a blue button-up, a navy blazer, and his hair in an understated, slicked back ponytail.
The entire conversation, at about 53 minutes long, is absolutely worth your time. In it, Galliano—who was fired from Dior back in 2011 after a video surfaced of him, very drunk, making incredibly anti-Semitic remarks—talks candidly about his struggles with addiction, his journey to sobriety, and even his feelings of understanding when Alexander McQueen committed suicide.
“I knew Lee. I understood that loneliness, that pain,” Galliano says. “As addicts, we’re in such perfection, we’re setting the bar impossibly high. And when people say, ‘how are you going to top that?,’ we go, ‘Yeah, we’re going to. Don’t worry.’ And that’s what makes us wake up in the morning. You’re only as good as your last collection. I was very sad.”
On his own struggle with addiction, Galliano confesses that in the past he had difficulty understanding and controlling his own emotions.
“In the early days, I was incredibly creative and productive and I loved the research trips, I loved the creation, finding technical solutions to creative challenges,” Galliano says of his career as a designer. “I didn’t need alcohol and the pills for that. What changed was, I was afraid to say no, that little word. I thought it showed weakness. With more and more success, I would just say yes and keep on taking more work on, which took its toll. I’m so grateful that I am alive, not for what happened, but as a result of what happened, I have been able to spend some time on myself, understand these emotions that I couldn’t express, and the difference between emotions and feelings and how I can change that. Before, I would be upset or angry and it would go on for four days or five days; now I know that I can change that. I wasn’t aware of that before, many things like that. Finally admitting as well that I had all these resentments and all this built up anger; I suppressed everything as a child, I couldn’t talk about it at home and at school I couldn’t really express myself. This was all bottled up really. Later on in life, in that state that I found myself in, it came up. I was emotionally, spiritually, physically, mentally bankrupt. I didn’t know it, but I had a very big breakdown.”
Watch a snippet of the interview above, and check out the entire conversation at CharlieRose.com.