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John Galliano's Fragrance Woes: Will Customers Forgive Him?

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Hitler-lover John Galliano has been laying low ever since he was caught declaring his drunken Nazi-love on camera earlier this year—sources say he's been in rehab ever since getting sacked from his job at Dior. But how much has his anti-Semitic diatribe hurt his licensing agreements—especially his stable of fragrances? WWD talked to Perfume Holding vice president of creation and marketing development Brigitte Wormser.

“[Galliano’s comments have had] an impact on sales in certain markets,” Wormser said, declining to reveal details. In Israel, the brand was strongly affected by Galliano’s alleged anti-Semitic outbursts, she commented, and certain German and British retailers were reticent about stocking the fragrance. In France and Italy, however, the impact has been minimal.

Certain German retailers had decided to destock the brand, and changed their minds after bloggers, who had already tested the fragrance, put pressure on them, she said.

“Parlez-Moi d’Amour has excellent scores on,” Wormser said, suggesting this is proof that final consumers are little concerned about the situation.

“Everyone knows John was sick at the time,” Wormser said. She made a comparison with supermodel Kate Moss’ turbulent period: “We have all forgotten now that she messed up.”

The question, Wormser explains, is whether the product is strong enough to stand on its own without the personality behind it? We suspect that the name "John Galliano" is now so tainted in the eye of the mainstream non-Hitler-loving consumer that it will be years, if not decades, before he and his brands are able to make any sort of comeback. And even if the perfume is fantastic, will retailers really want to stock John Galliano-branded products on their shelves? Most American stores pulled all Galliano-branded merchandise from their selling floors following the March scandal. It doesn't matter how fragrant a perfume is—if no one's selling it, how can anyone buy it?
· John Galliano Woes Hit Fragrance [WWD]