'Dior and I': The Documentary We've All Been Waiting For

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Dior atelier observe the collection sketches. Courtesy of Dogwoof.

Candid, vulnerable and sincere. Frédéric Tcheng delivers a compelling feature-length documentary powerfully merging the prominent French haute couture designer, the revolutionary Christian Dior, with the new to couture Raf Simons who is described by Tcheng as “an uncanny reincarnation of Dior himself.”

Dior and I takes the viewer on an eight-week journey to the runway revealing the creative process, artistic direction and the unknowingly necessary attention to Dior’s heritage-filled atelier.

“It’s understandable that anyone might be reluctant to let a camera crew shadow them relentlessly for three months,” Tcheng said. “But Raf’s concern seemed to run deeper. I sensed that the vulnerability he was showing would become central to the film.”

This vulnerability is what gives the film meaning. Tcheng seemed to sympathize with Simons’ huge new role and the expectation that came with it. It was like watching the new kid at school meet his new classmates when Simons met the members of the atelier. He displayed an apprehensive spirit, but in that eight-week stretch, the viewer will notice just how impactful the creativity of fashion can be as it joined together a phenomenal army to produce an ingenious collection.

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Creative Director Raf Simons analyzes a couture gown. Courtesy of Dogwoof.

Shedding light on the atelier extends the lifetime of Dior. It increases familiarity, which crosses the boundary line that sometimes exists between the glamorous, exclusive side of the fashion industry and the real world.

The character-filled personalities of the atelier, as well as their closeness with one another excellently attributed the film. Tcheng was sure to balance Dior’s and Simons’ role in this documentary as well. The echoes of Dior’s memoir and how well they coincided with Simons’ actions added an eldritch element to the film, along with the atelier’s comments on Dior’s spirit that still feels apparent to them every day.

Simons proves himself to be more than what has been said from the beginning, middle and end of the film revealing one of the most talked about haute couture collections of Spring 2012.

The Orchard presents Dior and I, opening Friday, April 24 at Landmark’s Opera Plaza Cinemas in San Francisco, Landmark’s Shattuck Cinemas in Berkeley and Camera 7 in San Jose.


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Director Frédéric Tcheng sets up a shot. Courtesy of Dogwoof.