Last week I attended a screening of the 2015 film, "Dior and I" about creative director Raf Simons' first haute couture collection for the House of Dior in 2012. Simons had been creative director for Jil Sander since 2005 before joining Dior. His transformation of the brand out of its minimalistic aesthetic made it a commercial success. However, his assignment at Dior came as a surprise to many in the industry as he had no experience in haute couture.
The film documents the eight weeks prior to Simons' first haute couture show for the House of Dior, and the amazingly talented ateliers who's teams work tirelessly to bring the creative vision to life. They had eight weeks to create 15 haute couture pieces for one of the top fashion houses in Paris. It's a real life Project Runway; only in this version, Simons has a team of 60 artisans working for two head ateliers interpreting his vision and bringing the garments to life. Simons' inspiration is Dior; the man and the house itself. Referring back to sketches and actual garments from Dior's 1947 "New Look" collection, Simons expertly ressurects the iconic silhouettes such as the "Bar" suit in a new, modern way. As with Dior, the model-as-muse influences, evolves and inspires the garments that Simons sends down the runway.
There is, of course, some drama and conflict as a team of ateliers have to work through the night to unbead and re-bead fabric and then completely remake a garment for the runway show the next day. No doubt that coffee and cigarettes fueled the creation of this collection the same way they did in the original 1947 collection.
In addition to the creation of the garments, Simons and the Dior team work on the concept and location for the fashion show. Knowing it is his first collection for the house, they are expecting large crowds from all over the world. Simons' brilliant vision of live flowers mounted on to the walls of an abandoned Paris mansion provided the perfect backdrop to his couture show and set the standard for modern haute couture fashion shows.
It is one of the best fashion documentaries I've seen, and gives an amazing, exclusive inside look into the immense task of creating these works of art twice a year. The movie is currently available on iTunes and Amazon Video