There's that saying: any publicity is good publicity. I've always thought it sums up society nowadays- looking at Britain's somewhat unique celebrity culture. All those D-list celebrities who make their name based on "show-mance" and trashy behaviour just go to show that publicity= money and fame. These people shouldn't even get an acknowledgement, but they end up plaguing our screens with "their story" that is often comparable to watching paint dry. But still we love a scandal and we love a gossip.
The astonishing thing is that the majority of these "stars" have no talent- they do anything to get their column-inches. So what about those who do have talent, but are still very much in the public eye? Is it always a good thing?
I am referring, of course, to the recent shock involving John Galliano. The reports are still unconfirmed, and I do feel that the claims are probably way off the mark, but Galliano's supposed anti-Semitic rants may have cost him his position at the house of Dior, and he is currently suspended.
This is a man often referred to as a genius of the fashion world. His work at both Galliano and with Dior has always been praised and adored by the industry, he is an artist and everything he turns his hand to is almost fantasy. A graduate of Central St. Martins, his first collection was sold in it's entirety to Browns in London- very impressive for someone so little known. Then he became a darling of that glamourous jet-set with Testino, Kate Moss and the like. He is one of the biggest legends of fashion design- but his brilliance was always accompanied by this celebrity. The celebrity factor that could ruin his reputation.
It's a really sad thought that even if Galliano's name is cleared, people will associate this with him and it could detract from his extraordinary work. It goes to show that a lot can be said for keeping a low profile in the fashion industry. If Galliano wasn't so outrageously flamboyant and so well known, maybe this incident would have been much more subtle. It just seems an awful waste.
There are designers who use their fame to boost their sales and market, but it can overshadow their work. As far as fashion is concerned- people are just as drawn to mystery and ambiguity, as they are to flash parties and A-list connections. The total genius of Martin Margiela is an obvious example, if an extreme. He allows no photos, no interviews and resides backstage during his shows. He lets his work do the talking, shunning all that extrovert glamour that adds value to brands like Dolce and Gabbana and Versace. His whole philosophy is something unique in fashion- he is a pioneer of deconstructionism, and his mystery just adds to his success. It's not a mass-market brand that everyone gets excited about when you sport the latest collection, it's all about the garment.
Drama does bring recognition- just look at how many people claim McQueen as their favourite designer, where they probably didn't even acknowledge him before his tragic death. He was a total innovator, a unique and extraordinary talent- but he knew where to draw the line between fashion and stardom. And this is admirable.
I'm not saying that every designer should hide away, it would be no fun! I love Galliano's spectacle- coming out at the end of every show in a fabulous costume- I love Marc Jacobs for having himself as the face of his latest aftershave. I just think there should be a balance, like that championed by Miuccia Prada, Pheobe Philo, Hussein Chalayan- keep yourself a part of the industry, but don't let it detract from your work.