Dior and I brings the viewer inside the storied world of the Christian Dior fashion house with a privileged, behind-the-scenes look at the creation of Raf Simons' first haute couture ...
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Dior and I brings the viewer inside the storied world of the Christian Dior fashion house with a privileged, behind-the-scenes look at the creation of Raf Simons' first haute couture collection as its new artistic director-a true labor of love created by a dedicated group of collaborators. Melding the everyday, pressure-filled components of fashion with mysterious echoes from the iconic brand's past, the film is also a colorful homage to the seamstresses who serve Simons' vision. Written by
Insightfyl (and entertaining, if tense) look at today's Christian Dior Fashion house
"Dior and I" (2014 release from France; 90 min.) brings a close-up look at the fashion house of Christian Dior as it exists today. As the documentary opens (in 2012), the CEO of Christian Dior introduces a new creative director to the staff, a Belgian guy named Raf Simons. Raf is new to the "haute couture" as his background really is in "pret-a-porter" (ready to wear) and mostly for men on top of that. So this is a daring choice, and not one without risks. On top of that, Raf only has 8 weeks to come up with a new collection. And as if that isn't enough, Raf's use of French is okay but not fluent (he hails from Dutch-speaking Antwerp, Belgium, home of many other notable fashion designers). How will Raf do? Will his first collection be a success? To tell you more would spoil your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.
Couple of comments: first, this is the latest documentary from writer-director Frédéric Tcheng, who most recently brought us the delightful "Diane Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel". Second, the challenges that Raf Simons is facing are significant from the get-go. Not only because of the ridiculous time constraints (normally a new collection gets started on 4 to 6 months out, not 8 weeks), but also because of Simons' personality, which isn't the easiest, and his transition to designing haute couture for women, rather than pret-a-porter for men. Along the way, we get to know many other characters, including Pieter Mulier, another Dutch-speaking Belgian who came with Raf and is his trusted right-hand man, and of course the French atelier workers. The tension builds up as we get closer to the deadline for presenting the new collection. Watching how Raf deals with the pressure on the day of the collection's premiere, that alone is worth seeing this documentary for.
I recently saw this at the Landmark E Street Cinema in Washington DC. The matinée screening where I saw this at was very well attended, somewhat to my surprise to be honest. But I guess it just shows there really is an audience for a top-notch documentary on fashion. If this is your kind of thing, I'd readily suggest you check this out, be it in the theater or eventually on DVD/Blu-ray.
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