For Americans unaccustomed to European countries’ system of orders and medals, suffice it to say it’s a big deal to receive one. Established in 1802 by Napoleon Bonaparte, the Legion of Honor is France’s highest such decoration, with the Chevalier (Knight) the highest of five degrees.
Chevalier was the one awarded to John Galliano in 2009—for “excellent civil conduct”—and the one, it was learned today, being stripped from him. By decree of François Hollande, the revocation is among the incoming French president’s first acts, in response to the designer’s conviction last year for uttering an anti-Semitic remark, a crime in France.
The designer, who blamed the slur on fatigue and substance abuse, has eschewed the spotlight since being let go from Dior and his namesake label. He’s thought to be recovering from his addictions and surely plotting a comeback.