The phrase “haute couture” is more likely to conjure flashing lights, glam catwalks, and sculptural ball gowns than workers in pristine white jackets, spray paint quick-fixes, and the quiet rustle of lovingly-handled muslin. But under the empathetic lens of Dior and I director Frédéric Tcheng, the elite and occasionally ostentatious world of high fashion comes secondary to the documentary’s universally compelling tale: that of a leader with a creative vision, a legacy to uphold, and a loyal and skillful team backing him.
Dior and I, which premiered in Denver on May 1 at Chez Artiste Landmark Theatre, is an unobtrusive, intimate, and illuminating glimpse into the beguiling behind-the-scenes of legendary fashion house Christian Dior. The documentary’s narrative (apart from a few historical interludes) spans eight weeks, beginning with the 2012 appointment of renowned menswear designer Raf Simons as creative director, and ending with the debut of his first haute-couture line at the label.
The film observes the unique connection Simons forms with Dior’s late namesake, a relationship that he continually rediscovers throughout the film in an effort to honor and build upon Christian Dior’s acclaimed vision. Tcheng’s carefully woven narrative reveals the softer side of fashion by focusing on the skilled men and women who put their hands together to materialize Simons’ vision. Tcheng shows tasteful restraint in his portrayal of conflict, making moments of unconcealed sentiment all the more impactful. By foregrounding its humanity, the director gives viewers no choice but to bear witness to fashion’s true framework—creativity, passion, and collaboration.
Don’t miss it: Due to its popularity, the Chez Artiste has extended its showing of Dior and I until May 14 (dates and times vary.) Find tickets here.