Monday, April 13, 2015

Fashion on Film: "Dior & I" Review

Yesterday morning I attended the Sarasota Film Festival screening of the documentary "Dior & I." The film chronicles the journey of the creation of the first collection that Raf Simons presided over as Creative Director of Christian Dior, Fall 2012 Couture. What I love about this film is that it really showed the process of Raf engulfing himself in the Dior brand, in just eight weeks. We see Raf start the ideas for this collection by immersing himself with pieces from the Dior archive. Taking a look at the craftsmanship of the Couture and building his idea. Labeled a modernist many doubted Rafs appointment to Dior, and though we have seen his many successes since then we see Raf trying to combat this idea. What Raf has intended for the House of Christian Dior is not minimalism, but instead modernity. When viewing the archival pieces formulating what his approach to the collection would be one thing that Raf did was view a cocktail dress and then tucked up the skirt to make it a top and then showed it with pants. This was the beginning of the collection.

Raf did not take no for any answer for this collection, as I am sure that he does in the creation of all his collections. He wanted to take these abstract paintings by Sterling Ruby and have them printed using a technique that Dior himself used so often where the print is not printed on the fabric, but printed on the threads and then woven together. The head of fabrics said that it couldn't be done, Raf said it can and it will. The four textile creators that the Maison uses to get it's fabric said they couldn't make it work, Raf said find someone who will. When the fabrics finally showed up in Maison he was beyond elated. Raf loves abstract art. It is one of his true joys in life, and he made walking art pieces (these pieces then ended up on the backs of the likes of Jennifer Lawrence and Zhang Ziyi.)

What really struck me throughout this film is that despite being a no hold barred kind of personality, was the relationship that Raf had with the Atelier staff. You really see that the staff in the Ateliers (Dior has two: one for dresses and one for suiting) really were a family and they accepted Raf, and his right hand assistant Pieter Mulier, into the house with open arms. Some members of the Atelier have been with the brand for 40+ years and seen the likes of John Galliano, Gianfranco Ferre, Marc Bohan, & Yves St Laurent all come and go. Each ushering in a era for the house upon their arrivals with their interpretations of the staples left behind by Christian Dior.

Another touching moment of the film was actually seeing Raf deal with the monstrous legacy before him. Dior is one of the worlds most recognizable brands and he had big shoes to fill. In one scene, having tea on the grounds of Christian Dior's seaside home (which is now a museum), Raf admits to putting down "Dior by Dior" because he saw himself drawing comparisons and making the shadow of the legacy even larger. He goes on to say that he is I. Now way as talented as Monsieur Dior ever was and that he was terrified that he wouldn't be able to fill the legends shoes. As I watched Raf, on the day of the Fall 2012 Couture presentation, come face to face with this legacy it was a moment to behold. The man stood at the monitors watching the collection that he envisioned finally take it's place on the stage and with each look that took the runway he welled up with more and more tears. I found myself welling up watching because it showed just how grateful he was to be in that position. I defiantly recommend that you a go out and see this film. You will laugh, cry, and be left in amazement.

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