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Disgraced Galliano returns to fashion

Disgraced British designer John Galliano is to restart his shattered career by taking over the creative direction of the fashion house Maison Martin Margiela, the label said yesterday, three years after he was sacked by Dior after a drunken anti-Semitic tirade in a Paris bar.

Galliano, who spent nearly 15 years at Dior, is widely considered to be one of the best designers of his generation.

But the 53-year-old - known for his theatrical flair in both fashion and life - has been rarely seen since his sacking in March 2011 and subsequent conviction for anti-Semitism.

Galliano's glittering career imploded after he was captured in a mobile phone video hurling abuse at people in a bar in Paris's historic Jewish quarter.

The Paris criminal court in September 2011 found him guilty of proffering anti-Semitic insults in public on two occasions in February 2011 and October 2010.

He was spared jail and instead given suspended fines after the court accepted he was sorry for his actions which he blamed on drink and drugs.

Renzo Rosso, whose OTB group controls Margiela, told industry journal Women's Wear Daily he was delighted to be working with Galliano.

"Margiela is ready for a new charismatic, creative soul," he was quoted as saying.

"John Galliano is one of the greatest undisputed talents of all time - a unique, exceptional couturier for a maison [house] that has always challenged and innovated the world of fashion.

"I look forward to his return to create that fashion dream that only he can create," he added.

Galliano will take over all lines at Margiela including couture and both women's and men's ready-to-wear collections.

The fashion industry has been awash with speculation in recent months about Galliano's future although Rosso last month denied rumours he was to join the house. However, the Italian industrialist made no secret of his admiration for Galliano's talents.

Galliano underwent treatment for drug and alcohol abuse at an Arizona rehabilitation centre following the scandal.

He later said 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," 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."

Agence France-Presse