Garelick looks at the incident in which Christian Dior’s creative director, John Galliano, was fired for drunkenly making anti-Semitic slurs at a woman in a bar. She says the incident “invites consideration of the curious relationship between French fashion and fascism.” She looks at the history of fashion during World War II, in which the Nazis recognized the power and prestige of the French fashion industry and sought to harness it for political gain while keeping it in France. In addition, the Vichy government also sought to use fashion as a political statement to show the world through calm elegance that they were not afraid. Garelick looks at the links between fashion and a racist physical ideal that can still be seen in models today.
Garelick, a professor of English and performing arts at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, is working on a cultural biography of Coco Chanel.
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