Galliano Reconnects With London’s Jewish Community

Designer John Galliano is to rebuild links with the Jewish community in London after he was confirmed as a keynote speaker at the first ever Connect session—a series of events organised by London synagogues devoted to exploring and shaping ideas of fashion.

The event, due to be held on May 28 in the capital, is set to be about “conversations combining culture and community,” and is the latest in a series of moves towards Galliano’s rehabilitation following his dismissal from Dior in 2011 for anti-semitic remarks. The designer will join other speakers such as Maureen Kendler of the London School of Jewish Studies and Rabbi Sam Taylor of the Western Marble Arch synagogue. Galliano has already been taking steps towards forming a connection with the Central synagogue after Jonathan Newhouse, chairman and chief executive officer of Condé Nast International, introduced him to the synagogue’s Rabbi Barry Marcus following the scandal.

The Connect event is set to be a “brand new concept that will bring together like-minded Jews in Central London for a series of special evenings. Each evening will focus on a contemporary topic, explored by guest speakers, to ignite and entertain, providing a new insight into each subject.” The initiative hopes to also act “as a way of bringing Jews and Jewish learning back into the West End.” Galliano, meanwhile, presented his first collection for Maison Martin Margiela during Paris Couture Week in January, after being named creative director of the brand in October 2014. The designer’s re-initiation back into the fashion industry was mostly positively received following his three-year hiatus as he battled several addictions for alcohol and medications.