Today sees the release of Dior & I, the latest documentary from filmmaker Frédéric Tcheng – his solo directorial debut – that follows Raf Simons as he starts his role as Creative Director at the Parisian fashion house.
You find yourself immersed in the world of Dior, from the ateliers, to the business and communications, and even in the legend that is Christian Dior himself. Throughout the film we see vignettes of Christian Dior in black and white, using voiceover quotes from his autobiography. It’s these snippets that emphasise the work ahead of Simons as he embarks on the task of creating his very first haute couture collection for Dior, modernising the legacy for a new generation. They also act as a reminder of the past, baring weight on the shoulders of the designer of the future.
There are times in the film where things don’t always go to plan. Which, expectably, there would be. Simons is known as a minimalist (although he does not see it that way) and has never designed a couture collection before, let alone in eight weeks, and so these mishaps were bound to happen. But, what you notice is that every hurdle is handled in a rather elegant manner and only once do we witness a tiny designer tantrum – if you could even call it that.
A sense of thrill and excitement hangs over the experience; you are anticipating the grand finale right from the very start, cheering on the rather timid designer and Pieter Muller, his right-hand-man, the entire length of the movie. Tcheng does this by creating a crescendo of sorts. The voiceover shifts from the past to the present as we draw near to the catwalk show, and it acts as a commentary on Simons’ whole experience. When the collection finally does walk the runway, in a beautiful slow motion scene, emotions are high, and watching this little slice of modern couture history evokes those same feelings in anyone with a place in their heart for style.
Dior & I is in cinemas from today.