Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Fashionably Fascist - The Forgotten History of Dior

Guest post by Simon Biryani

Francois Dior (centre) and Colin Jordon (far right) in 1964
The world-renowned fashion designer John Galliano has been in the news recently for  disgraceful displays of anti-semitism. His employers, Dior, have summararily sacked him, and the Face of Dior,  actress, Natalie Portman, has said "I am deeply shocked and disgusted by the video of John Galliano's comments that surfaced today. In light of this video, and as an individual who is proud to be Jewish, I will not be associated with Mr. Galliano in any way." 

However, there is a piece of history that puts an interesting twist to this whole affair that has seemingly gone underground, despite having some its roots in that pivotal decade of change for fashion and many other things besides, the 1960s. This is from the book ‘The National Front’, by Martin Walker, published by Fontana in 1977:

"The major problem with the N.S.M. [National Socialist Movement], which was to cause the split in 1964, was the attractive French  heiress, Francois Dior. She had been married to Count Robert-Henri de Camount-la-Force and had been a fervent monarchist. She had first appeared at the Princedale Road HQ in the summer of 1962, and [Colin] Jordan courted her. While Jordan was still in prison1, she became engaged to [John] Tyndall, and on Jordan’s release the two men vied for her hand. Her marriage to Jordan took place on the 5th of October, 1963, and a curious ceremony it was.

For the occasion, she wore a black and gold swastika necklace, encrusted with diamonds. They supped mead, toasted the British Nazi movement to the strains of the 'Horst Wessel Lied', and over a swastika-draped table, swore that they were of untainted Aryan blood, cut their fingers and let the mingled drop of their blood fall on to an open page of a virgin copy of Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf. Within  three months they were separate,; they were briefly reconciled, but Jordan was granted a divorce in October, 1967. In 1965, Francoise was the French representative of the World Union of National Socialists, and, in January 1968, was sentenced to eighteen months in prison at the Old Bailey for conspiring to commit arson on synagogues. On the eve of her trial, she told the Daily Telegraph: 'I would like to make an Act of  Parliament to burn down all synagogues by law'."
This next section is from the book The Other Face of Terror: Inside Europe’s Neo-Nazi Network, by Ray Hill with Andrew Bell, publisshed by Grafton Books, 1988;

"Among those who had deserted the fold... was the perfume heiress Fancoise Dior, a bitter anti-semite whom  I knew personally from my days as a National Socialist Movement member in Britain. It was her marriage to Colin Jordan in 1963 that led a scorned John Tyndall to break away and form his own organisation. Even today, Tyndall remembers being jilted by his fiancee with incredible anger. Later she was jailed for her part in arson attacks on synagogues in and around London.
 
...I was completely taken aback by the news....that she had joined up with Jacques Chirac’s conservative RPR [Rassemblement pour la République] opposition. [We discovered later that she was also a member of the Paris branch of the British Conservative Party]. This was a leopard, I felt sure, who would never trade in  her spots, an assessment which was borne out a couple of years later when she was found to be financing Our Nation, Martin Webster’s ill-fated group set up after he had was expelled from the National Front."



1) Two months for "insulting words likely to cause a breach of the peace". What he actually said (from the plinth at the NSM Rally in Trafalgar Square on 1st July, 1962) was: “More and more people every day are opening their eyes and coming to see Hitler was right. They are coming to see that our real enemies, the people we should have fought , were not Hitler and the National Socialists of Germany but world Jewry and its associates in this country”.

15 comments:

  1. An interesting piece of post war right wing history. One must, however, subjoin that Francoise Dior's biography stands in a rather marginal context to the fashion and perfume brand Dior. Christian Dior was Francoise' uncle, but neither had his niece a considerable relation to his aesthetic and commercial endeavors, nor did they share political world views. Christian Dior was a more or less ivory tower aestheticist, who may have shared some diffuse liberal democratic views.

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  2. VERY NAZI WEDDING video newsreel film
    http://www.britishpathe.com/record.php?id=43702
    10/10/1963

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  3. Gilad Atzmon, ex Israeli soldier and ex Zionist writes about Galliano :

    http://www.gilad.co.uk/writings/gilad-atzmon-john-galliano-must-be-a-zionist.html

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  4. the usual (borderline anti-Semitic) BS from Atzmon

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  5. Atzmon is Jewish,the son of a fervent Zionist and an Israeli academic,and is an ex Israeli soldier, so he must be a self hating Jew : actually, he has proclaimed that he is proud to be called a self hating Jew.

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  6. "There must be few if any, Jewish anti-Zionists who have not been called ‘traitors’ or ‘self-haters’. To Atzmon those of us who also oppose anti-Semitism are “crypto-Zionists”. He not only racialises the struggle, but tries to divide the Palestine solidarity movement by alleging that Jewish members are a fifth column. Jewish anti-Zionists serve as 'an inside enemy'”

    From an article about Atzmon, 'Anti-Zionist' holocaust denier

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  7. Atzmon is an ex Israeli Defence soldier, who saw service in Lebanon and served in the occupied territories, aswell as working in a detainment camp where Palestinians were imprisoned.

    He is from an Israeli family of strict right wing Zionists and academics, and though no longer a leftist himself,he has firm knowledge of the area aswell as being conversant with so called 'post modern' literature, outlook and discourse.

    That background formed his politics and outlook.

    Possibly he has more to say on the subject than Tony Greenstein, a DSS/Housing Benefit clerical worker from Brighton, and the outdated 'Socialist Worker', and indeed, he has far more readers than they do on the topic, though they always try to make it appear not to be so.

    You'd also be very hard pushed to prove Atzmon is a racist -- for the last 30 years he has worked with North African Jews, Arab Jews, European Jews, Gypsies and black British artists, and he continues to do so -- his current band are made up of Mizrahim, Ashkenazim and Gypsies.

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  8. Greenstein's comments are bollocks, and no one listens to him or the Socialist Worker on Palestinian struggle, least of all the Muslims and Arabs, who tend to have very little interest in Communism and Socalism as movements that will bring about a solution.

    Greenstein,Rance and Elf etc have tried to put themselves at the forefront of some kind of leftist discourse on Palestine, but no one listens to them because they have little to say.

    Atzmon has repeatedly clarified his stance on the various leftist and self declared Jewish movements connected to the struggle.

    He says he sees very little point at all in their maintaining that they are 'Jews for justice' or 'Jews for Palestine' , or 'Jews for the boycott' etc etc. He states his position is a humanist one, and just as he can't see the point in 'Catholic Taiwanese against the occupation', or in 'Spanish gays for Palestine', or 'Korean Protestants for boycott', or 'Dutch reformists against the wall', he sees little point at all in people working within 'Jews only' groups.

    His stance is for a humanist movement -- not a Protestant, Catholic or Buddhist or Jewish one.

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  9. "Muslims and Arabs, who tend to have very little interest in Communism and Socalism as movements that will bring about a solution. "

    Well, there you go with your exceptionalism, stereotyping, etc. It's only a few weeks ago that we were being told that Muslims and Arabs had no interest in democracy either.

    Of course it is useful that there are movements such as, eg., 'Jews for Palestine', as it breaks down the racist assumption that the war is between Jews and Arabs, Jews and Muslims, etc., but is rather a political fight about Zionism and imperialism.

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  10. Strelnikov, where did I ever say Arabs/Muslims don't like democracy?

    And if you really and truly think that many Muslims, a significant number, genuinely believe that Communism, Marxism and Socialism are an answer to their problems, well, go ahead. Be my guest.

    Good luck selling Socialist Worker and discussing Marx and Trotsky outside the local mosque on a Friday, really -- I wish you luck with it. Good luck convincing the Iranians, Lebanese, Afghans and Palestinians that the dialectic is the way to solve their problems.

    Of course, if you have evidence otherwise ( beyond very small fringe movements ) then you might let us in on the Arab Socialist movements. It would be good to know about them.

    That is an open challenge for you to do so by the way.

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  11. I didn't mean to say that you yourself had denied that Moslems or Arabs had an interest in democracy - only that the historical situation - as always - is fluid, and the fact that there is no mass revolutionary socialist movement in the region right now is no kind of argument against socialism. If we had to base all of our politics on what currently has mass support, nothing would ever change.

    Of course, in the meantime socialists support what movements for democracy already exist, but not uncritically. Incidentally, I am not a member or supporter of the SWP, and neither am I a member of the CPGB (in whose paper, Weekly Worker, the criticism of Aztmon appeared). Nevertheless, I would support the general thrust of their position as against Aztmon (though, for your information, and contrary to your assumptions, for a long time the SWP have been broadly supportive of Aztmon).

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  12. Strelnikov wrote -- "Of course it is useful that there are movements such as, eg., 'Jews for Palestine', as it breaks down the racist assumption that the war is between ... Jews and Muslims."

    As Shlomo Sand's research has shown, Jews are not a race. And Muslims are not a race. Just as Buddhists and Christians are not a race.

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  13. 'race' is a entirely mythical if you take it as a biological category. I have never heard anyone seriously talk about a Buddhist or Christian 'race'. In the real world, though, 'race' is used as a category to denote various groups of people based not only on genetic phenotypes but also on class, ethnicity, etc. The Jews and, eg., Moslems may not be 'races' genetically, but that doesn't make the slightest difference to the racism they face.

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  14. "'race' is a entirely mythical if you take it as a biological category"

    ... other than when applied to the 'human race', obviously. But none of this makes any real difference to the discourse of race, racism and anti-racism.

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Please at least use a pseudonym so it's possible to follow your argument if you make multiple posts