The legendary creator – who is usually careful to avoid politics – warned that “we are witnessing the very breakdown of the moral fibre of society, the trivialisation of democracy and the European Union.
“Isn't this what they fought for – for peace?” he asked, referring to the nurses, female spies and Resistance fighters he celebrated in his Maison Margiela show.
Galliano said he decided to speak out because he was shocked to discover “how little some people know” about the fight against fascism.
He said his show was “about remembrance and about liberation. If you have a voice it is because these people fought so you can vote. So use it. Make yourself heard. Wake up!” he declared.
But Galliano set a more sombre mood on a podcast released after the show Wednesday.
To the strains of the hymn “Abide With Me” – an anthem often used at remembrance events in the UK – he said he had taken a string of heroic women from both World War I and II as his inspiration, “fabulous women who gave up everything and who are sources of hope” now.
He paid tribute to British nurse Edith Cavell, executed in 1915, with nurses veils and clothes echoing their uniform, as well as trench and parachute coats in nods to female spies dropped into Occupied Europe.
The designer has turned his life and career around since he was fired by Dior in 2012 after drunkenly insulting patrons of a Paris bar with a volley of anti-Semitic slurs.