John Galliano has said that he 'understood' what Alexander McQueen was feeling prior to his suicide, in his first televised interview since the 2010 incident in a Parisian bar. The designer speaks candidly in the hour long interview with Charlie Rose, going into detail about his anti-semitic rant which led to his dismissal from his role as creative director at Dior, describing it as 'a very big breakdown.'
Galliano is clearly taking the interview seriously, as he wore a smart blue shirt and navy suit jacket with his hair slicked back, rather than his usual costume-like, leopard-tastic outfits. He apologised for his behaviour and said that he is trying to make amends in the best way he can. He explained that at the time he was under immense pressure, working on 32 collections a year, and his life became 'unmanageable.' The designer added that he became a 'black out drinker' and has no memory of the event, describing his condition as a 'cunning, baffling disease and you become a complete slave to it.'
Watch John Galliano talk about Lee McQueen's death
He also spoke about McQueen's death and described how he identified with the designer's pain: 'I knew Alexander - I knew Lee. I understood. That loneliness, that pain. I mean as addicts we're in such perfection - we're setting that bar impossibly high, we don't understand how we're doing it and people say, 'Wow, how are you going to top that?' And we're like, 'Well yeah we're going to, don't worry.' That's what makes us wake up in the morning. I was very sad.'
He goes into real detail about his condition and emotional state at the time, saying 'I'm so grateful that I am alive - not for what happened, but as a result of what happened, I have been able to spend some time on myself, understand these emotions that I couldn't express - the difference between emotions and feelings and how I could change that.'
He added that: 'Before, I would be upset or angry and it would go on for four days or five days. Now I know that I can change that. I wasn't aware of that before. I was emotionally, spiritually, physically and mentally bankrupt. I didn't know it, but I had a very big breakdown.'
Watch Galliano talk about the relationship between creativity and instability
When asked about the link between creativity and emotional instability he said that: 'In the early days I was incredibly creative and productive - I loved the research trips, I loved the creation and finding technical solutions to creative challenges. I didn't need alcohol and the pills for that.' He added that 'What changed was, I was afraid to say no - that little word, N.O. Because I thought it showed weakness. And with more and more success I would just say yes. And keep on taking more work on - which took its toll.'
The interview will be broadcast in the UK tonight on the Bloomberg TV channel at 10pm and you can watch Galliano's first television interview on Charlierose.com