Dior and I
Let's take a glimpse into what happens behind the scenes. Christian Dior is one of the most prestigious fashion houses. For anyone who loves the process of creation, in high fashion, would be interested in this film. The film opens with the history of the man himself, Christian Dior. Mr. Dior was born in 1905 in a small town by the sea called Granville (on the coast of Normandy France). At the age of five, Christian and his family moved to Paris. His dad, Maurice Dior, was a successful fertilizer manufacturer (The family firm "Dior Freres"). Christians parents wanted him to be a Diplomat, but he had other plans. He loved art and only wanted to express himself as an artist.
Christian started selling his fashion sketches, for ten cents, outside of his house to make money. Sometime later, he left school, got some financial help from his dad, and open up a small art gallery with a friend. His dad lost his business and art gallery leading up to the Great Depression. In 1937 he went on to work for designer Robert Piguet and designed 3 of Piguets collections. He credited Robert for teaching him the virtues of simplicity "where true elegance must come."
Christian's apprenticeship with Robert came to an end after being drafted into the military. After serving some time in the army, he worked as an employee and primary designer for Lucien Lelong alongside Pierre Balmain (who had also worked with Robert Piguet). Lucien Lelong was one of the fashion houses that kept producing. World War II helped keep the French fashion industry through utility. Christian designed dresses for wives of Nazi officers and french collaborators. He was heavily inspired by florals and known for his couture dress designs.
On December 8, 1946 Dior founded his fashion house. The House was backed by French entrepreneur Marcel Boussac. He presented his first collection on February 12th 1947. It was named "Corolle" (a term referring to flower petals in English). During this time, a lot of artistic expression came from war and the great depression.
Dior passed away October 23, 1957 (a holiday in Montecantini). His death remains unknown. Some think he had heart attack or choked on a fish bone.
It's also been rumored that he had a sexual encounter, which triggered his heart attack.
Now that we know more about where the brand originates from, "Dior and I" continues with a narration of old clips with Christian Dior speaking throughout the film. At this particular time, the fashion house is appointing RAF Simons as Creative Director of Dior. Raf is being introduced with his partner Peter to the Dior family and everyone who makes the house run (Ateliers and Premiers). Raf looks a little nervous and states this challenge will be a bit different for him coming from "Ready to Wear" transitioning to haute couture.
The process begins and the focus is women's haute couture. Raf visits Christian's home in Normandy, France, on the coast by helicopter. The influence and inspiration is gathered here with Christian's favorite color (a darker shade of pink) Visuals of flowers surrounded the room like a real life canvas.
Raf does not sketch or illustrate himself. The house usually gets an idea of his inspirations. Then on average, 250 illustrations are sketched. Next they are narrowed down to three or six sketches.
Raf, being a visual artist himself, attends art shows for leisure and inspiration. There is one artist that catches his eye for this collection. That artist is Sterling Ruby. Raf turned Sterling's work into a print on one of Dior's iconic dress designs. This reflects the origins of Dior tremendously with a resemblance of a flower. Raf states in the film that his audience describes him as a minimalist, but he's not. "They will have to wait and see"
When working with deadlines and demands, the Ateliers and Premiers work very hard to meet theses deadlines, while still catering to their clients that are spending up to 350 euros and more on special pieces. The clients keep the house going financially. All the work is done at the fashion house. It's been said that Christian Dior's ghost still roams the house at night and checks up on them.
Moreover, Peter is collaborating with Raf and constantly checking up on the designers to make sure they're on schedule. From a creative stand point, Raf makes sure everything is perfect, while simultaneously planning out the show. There is a lot of pressure on Raf to deliver at the Couture level and as the head of a major fashion house.
He then decides the show should be at Jeff Koons palace. He only needs the approval from the multi billionaire-CEO of LVMH, Mr. Bernard Arnault. (LVMH which has multiple fashion houses under the umbrella and Dior is one of them)
After Bernard's approval, Raf turned Jeff Koons palace into Dior's fairy land, with mounted colorful roses all over each wall. Once the Roses are brought in and mounted, the deadline is on because the roses will only last so long.
It's show time and Raf Is really nervous before and during the show. He is forced to show face and speak to the press, although he's extremely shy.
Raf created a masterpieces in couture. He even broke in some rookie models along the way.
Prestige, elegance and artistic vision is displayed here from Raf and the Dior team. At this moment, feelings of joy and sadness are felt by the house and all of its creators. The collection had been their baby for the past 3 to 4 months. Now it's time to let it go before the real world and be worn/judged.
Hats of to Father Raf Simons and the Dior team. He killed this show. Check out the trailer