Every now and then I see a film which leaves me with the feeling of, ‘this is why I do what I do’. Dior and I (Dior et moi) is the most recent of these privileges. Directed by Frédéric Tcheng, this is a film which is motivating, inspiring and joyful. Documenting the arrival of Raf Simons to fashion house Christian Dior, this film is visually splendid and a genuine pleasure to watch.
Raf Simons is appointed as the new Creative Director at Christian Dior. He has come from fashion house Jil Sander where his minimalist ‘ready to wear’ collections have seen him garner a positive response from fashion critics and buyers alike. He brings with him his right hand man and collaborator of over ten years Pieter, and both Raf and Pieter are inexperienced in the world if haute couture and Raf barely speaks French. They have a mere eight weeks to put together a collection to be shown to the fashion world elite.
This film is a wonderful insight into the creative process. We see how and where Raf draws inspiration and watch him make the slightest changes which transform entire outfits. Raf gradually earns the respect of the Dior team – seamstresses, designers and executives alike – many of whom have been at the fashion house for most of their working lives, decades in some cases. Through the Dior team we get a view into the rich history of the label.
Anyone who has invested themselves truly into a project can relate to this film. While the project might not have meant much to anyone else, the depth of commitment, the fear of failure and the sense of one’s life future hanging in the balance is real. This is the experience we share while watching Dior and I, as Raf’s vision is embraced by the Dior team and realised in layers of silk and tulle. Raf’s tentative, developing relationships with his new team are juxtaposed with the pressure he feels from legacy of the house’s namesake, Christian Dior himself.
The sheer delight in Dior and I is in watching the accomplishments of Raf and the Dior team. This film is proof that a visionary can inspire the best in those around him or her, and can lift a crowd. There may have been hours of tantrums and petty infighting edited out, however that seems unlikely. There are a few terse words and plenty of tensions as preparations escalate, but these moments add to the overall appreciation of what is a pretty glamorous end goal. Dior and I is a delight to watch and filled me with joy for days after the screening.
Dior and I is in Australian cinemas from 26 March through Madman.