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Dior, darling

follows Christian Dior’s creative director Raf Simons and his partner, Pieter Mulier, who have been charged with creating a new couture line for Dior — for a show a mere six weeks away. Shot in 2012, Frederic Tcheng's documentary shows Simons’ first moves as Dior’s new creative director. Simons, who comes from a minimalist, menswear background is at first intimidated but later confides in the camera that he is not actually a minimalist.

The film was a little dry at times and I often found myself checking the time on the player. Most of the finished designs came at the end and most of what you saw was white muslin fabric pinned to models. I would have liked to have seen more of the process going from muslin to finished product, or even a closer look at the finished product. There was one scene in the 11th hour of the film where there were four designers sitting around the table in the middle of the night sewing beads onto a piece of tulle.

This film is all that Dior is — luxury, volume, and excess. Influenced by the original Christian Dior, Simons also draws from modern art influences, bringing in several pieces of art found in Paris and recreating them, turning canvas into fabric. Keeping a wasp waist with a full petticoat in his dresses, and a feminine but masculine jacket, Simons returns to Dior’s original design style. In the beginning of the film the filmmakers quote Dior: “I am reactionary … we were coming out of a time of war and women in uniform looked square shouldered, like boxers. I drew flower women.”

What I really liked about the film was that Simons kept saying, “yeah, but can she move? Can she wear it?” All his work had pockets and the pieces seemed to have a good amount of fluidity and movement. They seemed accessible, like something the average gal could find in her closet.

The pinnacle of the film is the final show in which Simons exhibits his work to all the top names in fashion. There is no budget for this show — made evident by the fact that he rented a beautiful home and then lined nearly every wall in the house, floor to ceiling, with fresh flowers. This is an idea that he borrowed from Jeff Koons’, a sculpture created from steel, soil, and flowering plants. There is not a single runway in Simons’ show, but rather a path in which the models walk to tour all the rooms. It took a team of 50 people four days to assemble the flower arrangements and they had to do so in a way that the flowers would not wilt by the 3 p.m. show time. It was beautiful; one of the viewers commented that it was better than Alice in Wonderland, and I can’t think of a better description. The floral arrangements were something beyond the imagination. I can’t even imagine the smell ... and the allergies.

Before the show begins, Simons is a bundle of nerves and insists that he doesn’t want to walk with the girls at the final runway walk through. Exclaiming, “ooh la la, la la” Raf drinks his coca-cola and heads back into the house. By the end of the show he and his partner are both in tears and he leaps up the stairs to walk with the girls while the final six have not even finished their tour of the rooms.

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