When news broke that French-born filmmaker Frédéric Tcheng had not only been given unprecedented access to the inner world of the Dior fashion house but also the brand’s artistic director, Raf Simons, the fashion world was buzzing. When news hit that the film would be be released on U.K. screens before it reached our shores, we promptly put in our vacation requests.
Well, for those of you whose requests were denied, the wait is finally over. “Dior and I” will be hitting America’s big screens this Friday, April 10th.
Tcheng followed Simons and his team over a three-month period in the lead-up to the designer’s first haute couture show for the house as artistic director. Speaking of the experience, Tcheng recalls, “When I sat down with Raf Simons to discuss the project for the first time, I was struck by his palpable reticence. It’s understandable that anyone might be reluctant to let a camera crew shadow them relentlessly for three months, but Raf’s concern seemed to run deeper. I sensed that the vulnerability he was showing would become central to the film.”
In Christian Dior’s 1956 memoir, “Christian Dior and Me,” he discussed at length his feelings of alienation through media exposure. “There are two Christian Diors — Christian Dior, the man in the public eye, and Christian Dior, the private individual — who seem to get further and further apart,” Dior wrote.
“As Raf got to know me better,” Tcheng continued, “he became less intimidated by the presence of the camera, but I knew he remained quite apprehensive about the level of publicity that would come with his first Dior show. I set out to film his transformation into a camera-mobbed public figure. The motif of the camera flash — intrusive, blinding and exposing — kept on coming back to me. Maybe the camera does steal the soul.”
The feature-length documentary pays homage to Simons’ dedicated seamstresses, collaborators and personal team — highlighting the collaborative environment behind the creation of a couture collection.
Celebrating the rewarding yet immensely stressful eight weeks in the lead-up to the show, the film offers a rare, behind-the-scenes look at the inner workings of one of the world’s most recognized fashion houses.
To view the full Dior fall ’15 shoe collection, click on the slideshow below.