A brand can be a powerful thing. Frederic Tcheng, director of Dior and I, is absolutely obsessed. This documentary about the famous couture house is peppered with shots of the name itself, hanging above the doorway of a shop or pasted onto an advertisement. Sometimes the effect is intimidation, other times adoration, but it is always at least brushing up against fetishization. Never quite slipping into insistence or redundancy, this leitmotif reminds of the power and dignity of the house, legendary since Christian Dior opened its doors in 1947.
This makes for a quite a lot of pressure on the shoulders of Raf Simons, the newest creative director of Dior and the ostensible subject of the film. He started work in April 0f 2012 and that’s where Tcheng begins, leading with the moment when the new boss is introduced to the staff. Dior and I charts Simons’s first collection from start to finish, from design to execution and the eventual big show. Everyone is nervous, most of all the man himself. There’s a lot of anxiety, particularly because Simons was generally seen as an odd choice for Dior due to his reputation as a minimalist and his background in menswear. Everyone is worried and there is no shortage of pained faces.