01/22/2013 10:59 am ET Updated Mar 24, 2013

Galvanizing John Galliano: The Return of a Genius

Twenty years ago John Galliano had a "fashion moment," a breakthrough into haut monde and haute couture, facilitated by its über doyenne, Vogue's Anna Wintour, and abetted then by Vanity Fair's -- now Vogue's -- Andre Leon Talley, prêtre de la mode.

It was his "Princess Lucretia" runway show -- a romantic fantasia, rife with crinolines the size of settees and bias-cut dresses -- which broke the of technical prowess.

It set him on an upward trajectory to niveaux les plus élevés de la mode française, the highest levels of French fashion, until his fall from grace, due to anti-Semitic remarks, in 2011.

Now that Galliano is back -- albeit for three weeks, working at Oscar de la Renta's atelier -- rampant musings are resounding about Galliano's return to fashion, to the world he loves and has made his own for 25 years since receiving his first-class honors degree in fashion design from Central Saint Martins in London.

It seems perplexing to me, with all the web rantings about Galliano's "shame" and "banishment," to note that a saga often outlives its reality. It's akin to radioactivity, when the half-life is measured in millennia, yet the occurrence has long settled into the sea of time.

Galliano, one of the world's great design geniuses, deserves to be seen again.

Repentant, he has made his amends -- the Anti-Defamation League welcomed his "recovery and redemption" -- and we are well aware the world has offered many more second lives to those less penitent.

It is now time to shed the albatross that's become a postscript to anything written or said about him, and to allow the sheer brilliance and talent of this man to emerge once more.

Bravo to Oscar de la Renta, whose friends, acolytes and fans rally round from all corners of the world to support him. He's a true stanchion in the world of fashion -- and society. De la Renta's courage and largesse in reaching out to his friend John Galliano -- perhaps abetted a bit by the godmother of great designers, Ms. Wintour -- moves the clock forward. De la Renta has taken the irrefutable, brave step to bring Galliano back into the fashion fold where he belongs.

Four years ago, Maria Manetti Shrem held a celebration for me at her Napa estate, to which the iconic international style setter, society maven and philanthropist Dodie Rosekrans -- who had helped Galliano early on (discreetly partially underwriting "Princess Lucretia" and other shows) and had maintained her loyalty to Galliano through two decades -- was a guest.

Dodie, then almost 90, was still blazing new fashion trails, sporting emeralds the size of moon rocks. She regaled me with stories about the very first time she had visited Galliano's atelier and was "transfixed," "loving his creations," buying them directly off the runway and "falling in love a bit, with the man."

With a gilded life -- she has homes in San Francisco, Paris and Venice, and attends couture shows twice a year -- I queried Dodie about who in the fashion world she revered.

She listed Boaz, Oscar, Saint Laurent, Givenchy, Gaultier, Lacroix, Comme de Garçons, and then she leaned in closely and whispered, "But there is one, only one, like my dear friend John Galliano."

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