Just a week before their couture show in Paris, the top British designer, John Galliano, is suspended by Christian Dior after being arrested on suspicion of assault and anti-Semitism.
British fashion designer John Galliano has been suspended by the House of Dior following accusations that he attacked a couple in a Paris bar, using anti-Semitic and racial insults.
The 50-year-old designer was drinking in The Pearl, a bar in the fashionable Marais district that in just a few days will be alive with the global fashion circus on its way from Milan for Paris Fashion Week, which starts on 1 March.
The area has always been the traditional home of the Jewish community and a police source confirmed that complaints of anti-Semitism underlined the disturbance: "Witnesses said he swore heavily, using anti-Jewish insults, before attacking a couple. Both have provided witness statements, as have a number of other people at the bar, including staff." Anti-Semitism can be punishable with a custodial sentence.
The designer was due to present the fashion house's autumn/winter collection next Friday, followed by his own collection two days later.
His lawyer, Stephane Zerbib told French media that Mr Galliano "formally denies the accusations of anti-Semitism made against him. He is not at all in this state of mind and will explain later". She also said that "legal action will be taken against those making such accusations."
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The Dior boss, Sidney Toledano, said: "The House of Dior declares with the greatest firmness its policy of zero tolerance with regard to any anti-Semitic or racist statement or attitude. Pending the outcome of the police enquiry, Christian Dior has suspended John Galliano from all duties."
Galliano was briefly detained by police before being released, but a police spokesperson confirmed Galliano will face criminal charges and appear at court on a date yet to be fixed.
The designer was the first from Britain to head a French haute couture house when he went to Givenchy in 1995, before the luxury fashion conglomerate LVMH moved him across to Dior two years later.
He has long been established as one of the favourite designers of the world's A-list celebrities and only hours before his arrest on Thursday was announced as the wedding dress designer-of-choice of the model Kate Moss.