Ever wanted to go inside the house of Christian Dior? Now your backstage pass is actually front row with the opening of Dior & I in Charlotte Friday, May 8. New Artistic Director Raf Simons (formerly of Jil Sander) creates his first haute couture collection.
Granted unprecedented access, the film documents the eight stressful weeks that Simons had to complete his debut collection. Revealing the inner workings of the design house, from the creative processes of its artistic director to the tireless seamstresses of the atelier, the film explores the personal bonds that form between the collaborators, their work, and the legacy of Christian Dior.
Talk about being under pressure, Simons, a Belgian native whose previous credits included a namesake menswear line and who had been perceived by many as a “minimalist,” had always kept a low public profile and, most importantly, had never before worked in haute couture. To create his first collection for Dior, he had only eight weeks, as opposed to the usual five or six months.
At the age of 44, Christian Dior exploded onto the fashion scene designing clothes that complimented and celebrated femininity. Once women took notice of his designs he instantly became a household name and an arbiter of style.
Today the world that Christian Dior created lives on in the ateliers (workrooms), where a hard-working group of dedicated seamstresses still hand-sew clothing in the great tradition of haute couture. Dior is one of the last houses that still keep such ateliers in- house: atelier tailleur (for suiting) and atelier flou (for dresses). As Raf Simons discovers when he first visits the light-filled rooms tucked away on the top floor of the historic building, many seamstresses have worked here for more than 40 years. The film closely follows Florence Chehet, the dynamic and upbeat première for the atelier flou, and Monique Bailly, the anxious and quick- witted première for the atelier tailleur. “For me, they are the two most important people in the house,” says Pieter Mulier, Raf Simons’ right hand at Dior and longtime collaborator. “Because they have everything in their hands.”
Although Christian Dior only helmed his house for ten years, his impact on the fashion world was considerable. Dior and I follows Raf Simons as he explores Dior’s archives for inspiration.
Dior & I is currently playing at Regal Ballantyne Village Stadium and AMC Concord Mills. The film is written, produced and directed by Frederic Tcheng.