I am what you might call a Superfan when it comes to fashion movies. When I found out that Dior and I would be screened at the Tribeca Film Festival this year, I knew that I HAD to be there. I was moved by this great work of storytelling (more on that in a bit) and got an extra special treat when I had the chance to meet the director, Frederic Tcheng, after the Q&A session. I would like to say that I had a meaningful dialogue with him. What really happened is that I giggled like a schoolgirl and managed to say something unintelligible about how much I loved his Valentino and Diana Vreeland documentaries. But let’s focus on the film (and perhaps forget about my inability to use words when talking to Tcheng).
Dior and I follows Raf Simons as he takes over the helm as Creative Director at the storied House, having previously been responsible for minimalist brand Jil Sander. After a voiceover of the late Christian Dior’s memoir, we see Simons being introduced to the atelier. When asked if he prefers to be called “Monsieur”, the designer opts to be addressed by his first name. “As a token to modernity, we will call him Raf”. I felt like the tone of the movie was immediately set with this one statement indicating a creative movement towards the future.
Over the course of 90 minutes, we bear witness to the preparation for Raf’s first couture show. Not just with Dior, but his first couture show EVER. The deadline is looming just 8 weeks away which is not even half of the time that is usually required for a collection of this magnitude. Talk about pressure! Where this film exceeds in spades is capturing the emotion of every step of this journey. Coming to terms with the ghost of Dior, learning to work with the atelier, finding inspiration in modern art and balancing the needs of a business with artistic vision. For good measure and a bit of levity, there are a few well-placed expletives in some scenes that, as far as I can tell, are also an essential part of the process.
At the movie’s climax, Anna Wintour and a host of celebrities are present to see the unveiling of Raf’s debut collection with Dior in an elaborate flower-filled, fantasy of a show. I had a fleeting moment where I wondered if they could possibly appreciate the outcome of those months of hard work as much as I did, since I felt like I had been through it all with those dedicated individuals who made these otherworldly creations. Then, of course, I realized that they got to see these works of art in person (and have the means to wear them), so they still win. Either way, I left the theater inspired, and I encourage everyone to add this to their “must-see list”.
Raf was initially apprehensive about participating in the movie because he preferred some anonymity, without the pressure and celebrity of being the creative lead for the House of Dior
In some scenes, the dresses are covered. When questioned on whether or not that was to keep some level of secrecy until the show, the director noted that he was told it was because the moonlight can change the color of the fabrics
Because of the insane volume of blooms used for the couture show, they crashed the flower market in Europe