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Formerly disgraced designer John Galliano is doing gangbuster business for Maison Margiela. The fashion house's owner Renzo Rosso couldn't be happier about Galliano's performance as creative director, telling WWD that revenues are advancing by more than 30% since Galliano started in 2014. Out of the 350 Maison Margiela wholesale accounts, Rosso said that only one retailer stopped working with the brand due to Galliano's videotaped anti-Semitic remarks in 2011.
With Galliano at the helm, Maison Margiela is in growth mode. Galliano-designed menswear will be out in 2016, and Galliano is currently working on a new women’s perfume for Margiela that will launch in 2017. While Galliano's flair for theatrics has transformed the house's runway shows, Rosso has his eye on ready-to-wear and accessories. Galliano's first ready-to-wear collection landed in stores in September and Rosso said "it’s really starting to fly in the stores, and that’s really the best result we could want."
A push into handbags could be next. "We don’t want to become a bag company for sure," he told WWD. "But with bags accounting for a little less than 10 percent, we are missing a lot of opportunities."
Galliano declined to comment on the article, in keeping with Martin Margiela's reluctance to speak with the press. Staying out of the limelight and focusing completely on his craft might be a relief for the designer. Rosso is doing the talking for him, telling WWD: "It’s another company now. You can feel the energy inside, it’s unbelievable."
"It’s unbelievable because normally the other collections that you see, it’s just a bunch of clothing. But here, every single item has a story behind it. I think this is unique," Rosso said. "I don’t know anyone like John, who spends hours and hours on a toile, on a fitting, or on very little details."