Artistry and creative genius are terms you will often hear when describing a director, composer, or fashion designer. We know what these things mean: ambition, vision, a different way of seeing the world, the ability to inspire others and blaze a new trail.
Raf Simons, the Belgian fashion designer who became the new creative director for Christian Dior in 2012, and subject of the documentary ‘Dior and I’, is all of these things. He is intense, and a perfectionist, as he tries to pull together a full Haute Couture collection in just two months.
What is wonderful about this beautiful behind-the-scenes documentary is how much focus the director gives to the team around Simons. All of them creative geniuses in their own right, from his two ‘premieres’ (the women who lead the ateliers, or work rooms) to his right-hand man, the endlessly charming Pieter Mullier, and all the tailors and seamstresses toiling for the Dior label. What is clear is that creating a collection requires a mammoth effort from a large and incredibly talented team of people.Yes, it starts with Simons’ vision (he does not even sketch designs; rather he assembles boards of inspiration and works with a team of designers to develop his garments), but the film’s focus is squarely on the larger picture. The result is powerful, and at several times throughout the film, deeply moving in fact.
Simons’ vision and intense focus (seriously, this man is almost humming with an intensity and purpose, all of the time) are beautifully drawn out in the film through the use of voiceover narrating passages from the memoirs of Christian Dior himself. There are many parallels, and a certain poetry, to how the original founder of the fashion house approached women, fashion, and putting together a collection or a show.
It is clear that the burden and challenge of a first collection for the fashion house weighs extremely heavily on Simons, and the legacy he has been entrusted with is always forefront in his mind.
Dior and I is a must-see for anyone with a love of fashion and an interest in creative minds.