Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy gave the prestigious award to the British designer in 2009 for his contributions to haute couture. The Legion d'Honneur is the French equivalent of the United States' Presidential Medal of Freedom or knighthood in Britain.
"It's a very prestigious decoration that represents extraordinary public service," Edward Berenson, director of New York University's Institute of French Studies, told France24. "It has often gone to military members and people in the field of science and the arts. It's been broadened to include more categories over time."
Galliano joins Maurice Papon -- who was convicted of crimes against humanity for the deportation of Jews during World War II -- as two of the few to be stripped of the honor, France24 reported.
The fashion designer was convicted of hate crimes in September for uttering anti-Semitic and racist slurs in February 2011. He was fined $8,500 and was ordered to pay court costs and one symbolic euro each to the people he offended when he went on drunken tirades during two separate incidents in the same Paris cafe.