For those who love movies about the creative process, "Dior and I" is a must see. The documentary from director Frederic Tcheng takes its place among the greatest films about fashion, including "Unzipped," "Bill Cunningham New York" and "Valentino: The Last Emperor" (which Tcheng co-produced and co-edited).
Through immersing the viewer in the world of Dior and revealing the extraordinary effort required to produce a collection, I hoped the film would ultimately reveal a cross section of Parisian life, in the tradition of great French social realists like Renoir and Zola.
The film takes viewers inside the famed House of Dior as newly-appointed artistic director Raf Simons prepares his first haute couture collection for the firm. "Dior and I" opens in New York and Toronto April 10 and in Los Angeles and other cities April 17.
Films about the creation of a couture collection are inherently suspenseful because the viewer doesn't know whether the runway show will turn into a triumph or a catastrophe. "Dior and I" is particularly fascinating because it illuminates how Simons tries to thread the needle (if you'll pardon the pun) of evoking the grand tradition of Dior while keeping the collection contemporary and making his own artistic statement. One feels the almost unbearable pressure he is under to validate the company's decision to install him as artistic director over the objection of some critics who viewed his style as incompatible with Dior.
Director Frederic Tcheng has made a film that itself is a work of art. It is filled with interesting characters-- men and women who have devoted their lives to working in the Dior atelier, and who keep the spirit of the founder alive. In a word pronounced more than once by Simons in the film, "Dior and I" is sublime [that's sublime the way the French pronounce it... sue-bleem]
"Dior and I" debuted at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2014 and has gone on to win a number of awards, including a Special Jury Award from the Seattle International Film Festival. Look for it to become a major contender when the next awards season rolls around in late 2015/early 2016.
A sampling of Tweets about the film: