Why John Galliano’s appointment at Maison Martin Margiela is so surprising

After weeks of speculation, John Galliano has been confirmed as thenew creative director of Maison Martin Margiela. WWD reports that Galliano will lead all of Margiela’s offshoots, including men’s and women’s ready-to-wear and couture/artisanal, with his first collection taking to Paris Couture Week in January 2015. It’s been three years since the 53-year-old designer was dismissed from his role at Christian Dior for spewing anti-Semitic remarks and after some time in exile, it seems the fashion industry is ready to welcome him back with open arms.

“Margiela is ready for a new charismatic creative soul,” said Renzo Rosso, president of Only The Brave (OTB), the holding company that owns Margiela as well as Marni, Diesel and Viktor & Rolf. “John Galliano is one of the greatest, undisputed talents of all time—a unique, exceptional couturier for a maison that always challenged and innovated the world of fashion. I look forward to his return to create that fashion dream that only he can create, and wish him to here find his new home.”

So, how does fashion’s greatest showman take the helm of its most secretive label? A label that’s been famous for its reclusive founder, its invisible design team and 23 years shrouded in mystery? Cue the aforementioned Rosso, who since acquiring the brand in 2002 and since the departure of designer Martin Margiela in 2009, has been slowly bring it out of the shadows. While the name continues to be dropped by rappers, 2012’s much-publicized collaboration with H&M brought the brand’s surrealist signatures to the masses. Today’s appointment is front-page news.

Whether or not he’s ready, Galliano’s public repentance (with high profile help from Kate Moss, Oscar de la Renta and a Charlie Rosespecial) poises him for a comeback. Whether or not his larger-than-life creations will find their footing at Margiela, well, that’s just one cog in the fashion wheel. Always changing, like it or not.

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