PARIS (AFP) - John Galliano, the British designer whose return to fashion was to be the highlight of the Paris couture shows in January, will debut his first collection for the French fashion house Maison Margiela in London instead of Paris, a spokesman said Wednesday.
Galliano, 54, widely regarded as one of the most brilliant fashion minds of his generation, was sacked by Dior in March 2011 over a drunken anti-Semitic tirade in a Paris bar.
"John Galliano's first 'Artisanal' haute couture collection for Maison Margiela will be exceptionally presented in London on Jan 12, around tea time," the house told AFP without elaborating.
"The choice of this location for John's first show is both personal - going back to his formative years and his beginnings in the industry - and it is intrinsically related to the city's traditional tailoring history and heritage," it added.
The flamboyant designer has kept a low profile since his sacking and subsequent conviction by a French court for anti-Semitism following his outburst in which he hurled abuse at customers in a bar in Paris's historic Jewish quarter.
The rant, captured in a mobile phone recording, cause outrage but the designer was spared jail after the court accepted that he was sorry for his actions, which he blamed on drink and drugs.
Galliano, who spent nearly 15 years at Dior, was seen as the driving force behind Dior's €700 million (S$1.1 billion) annual profits at the height of his time there.
Announcing his appointment in October as Maison Margiela creative director, Renzo Rosso, whose OTB group controls Margiela, described him as "one of the greatest undisputed talents of all time".
Galliano underwent treatment for drug and alcohol abuse at an Arizona rehabilitation centre following the scandal.
He later told a magazine he had been sickened to see the video evidence against him, insisting he was baffled by the drunken rant.
"It's the worst thing I have said in my life, but I didn't mean it... I have been trying to find out why that anger was directed at this race (the Jewish people)," he told Vanity Fair magazine.
"I now realise I was so... angry and so discontent with myself that I just said the most spiteful thing I could."
Maison Margiela said Galliano's collection would also be presented by appointment during the Paris couture shows from Jan 25 to 31.