Dior and I , Film review and fashion industry commentary

Still 2 Still 1

David Bowie’s hit song “Fashion” mocked the self importance of the industry. “Dior and I” provides the introduction to Raf Simons (as the new head creative director) and is no exception to being self important .  Providing you with the  background information on Christian Dior and the house of Dior which is important to fully understanding the film “Dior and I”.

“The most influential fashion designer of the late 1940s and 1950s, CHRISTIAN DIOR (1905 to 1957) dominated fashion after World war II with the hourglass silhouette of his voluptuous New Look. He also defined a new business model in the post-war fashion industry by establishing Dior as a global brand across a wide range of products. Christian Dior was indisputably the world’s most famous fashion designer. His name was known all over the world and his label accounted for half of France’s haute couture exports. The Dior client list ran from Ava Gardner and Marlene Dietrich to Princess Margaret and the Duchess of Windsor. A short, pear-shaped bald headed man, with a habitually nervous expression, he was courted by Parisian society: but so shy that he could barely bring himself to bow to his audience at the end of each couture show.  As the most prestigious Paris couture house, Dior attracted the most talented assistants. One was Pierre Cardin, an Italian-born tailor who was Dior’s star assistant in the late 1940s before leaving to begin his own business. Another was Yves Saint Laurent, who joined in 1955 as the star graduate of the Chambre Syndicale fashion school.  Dior died in 1957 of a heart attack after choking on a fishbone at dinner.  A press conference announced the new structure of the house of Christian Dior. “The studio will be run by Madame Zehnmacker, the couture workshops by Madame Marguerite Carré, he announced. “Mitza Bricard will continue to exercise her good taste over the collections. All the sketches will be the responsibility of Yves Mathieu-Saint-Laurent. The first Christian Dior collection after Dior’s death was a sensation. Designed in just nine weeks with thirty-five outfits for the autumn 1957 collection by the 21 year-old Yves Saint Laurent. As he was called after dropping the ‘Mathieu.’ The clothes were meticulously made and perfectly proportioned as Dior’s in the same exquisite fabrics, but their young designer made them softer, lighter and easier to wear. Saint Laurent was hailed as a national hero. Saint Laurent was conscripted in the army and, after demobilisation, he opened his own couture house. He was replaced at Dior by Marc Bohan, who instilled his conservative style on the collections until 1996 when the iconoclastic young Briton, John Galliano, was appointed chief designer of Christian Dior by the company’s new owner, the LVMH luxury goods group.

What is in a name? Christian Dior produced his first couture fashion show in 1947. Considering he died in 1957 in just 10 years time his name and myth was perpetuated to yield billions of dollars . As of 2012, the House of Dior was the world’s leading luxury goods brand, producing more couture, ready-to-wear fashion and accessories than any other fashion house to date. Under the leadership of current CEO Bernard Arnault, Europe’s wealthiest man, Dior makes an annual income of $21 billion and operates 210 stores worldwide with over 75,000 employees. “Dior and I” documents the newest designer to continue the legacy of the name “Christine Dior’ house of Dior. Stepping into the hallowed atelier work rooms . Meeting the women directors that are the true artisans and have worked their expertise in haute couture for some 45 plus years. They have worked with the many designers and owners directives. Without these artists, haute couture would fail to exist. When Dior died the smartest business desicion was to keep these design women directors and their apprentices.  Raf Simons is the new head Creative Director. Writer/Director Frédéric Tcheng, who previously co-wrote and co-directed Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel and co-produced Valentino: The Last Emperor. A fascinating look into Valentino a (4 Honey B..rated film) Tcheng, beautifully directs “Dior and I” weaving archival footage of Monsieur Dior, his sketches, models, stars and the uber wealthy clientele with the filming of Raf Simons.  Simons hails from the ready to wear fashion industry and became a menswear designer in 1995. His collections are strongly cut classic menswear pieces with street-wear influences.   RAF SIMONS was born in Belgium in 1968. He is a designer best-known for his dramatic career change from the world of industrial and furniture design to the world of menswear. Simons launched his label in 1995 and, ten years later, in 2005 was appointed creative director of Jil Sander. He still has his  Raf by Raf Simons line of menswear. This film can easily be the story about when a visionary and creator of a company is no longer alive to keep their vision going. But, the story of how a successor has to step in and keep a successful brand making money and yet add their own innovation. IE: Apple , how Tim Cook had to step into Steve Jobs shoes. We will see if the Apple watch and the larger iPhone will prevail. Simons did everything to imbue Dior into his life. To the point where one might question who is the real Simons? Is it coincidence that Simons is as shy as CD? or that he really would get sick and faint if he had to walk through his show at the end as all fashion designers do to take their preverbal lap of glory? And yet ,after putting up such a fuss of not wanting to. Raf, ran up the stairs ahead of his cue to take that lap. Raf does not sketch, drape or sew like the great haute couture designers. He did not do his tutelage  in haute couture . He hails from ready to wear, mens wear and a somewhat junior line of Jill Sanders. He studied very well everything that Christian Dior did and made some modifications. He is lauded for putting together a show in eight weeks. Yet ,Yves St. Laurant  did it to perfection in 9 weeks when Dior died. I saw a man wanting to be sincere yet the only true emotion came at the end when the show was over and he was blubbering at how good he was. Ah, Bowie’s “Fashion”in action. The music that was played as the models strutted their couture overshadowed the importance of the visceral experience of the” art in motion”. The most interesting part of this behind the scenes look into the haute couture house of Dior was the artisans who actually made the final creations. I would love for Tcheng, to do a real in depth look at the unsung artisans of fashion. Somehow, I thought this was a great Public Relations piece for Dior after the damaging  John Galliano  debacle. Rated: 2 1/2 Honey B 🐝🐝1/2🐝

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