The Deadline Seen Round The World
Dior and I
Appearances: Raf Simons, Pieter Mulier, Florence Chebet, Monique Bailly, Catherine Riviere, Nadine Prot and Esther Heesch
Narrator: Omar Berrada
Director/Scriptwriter: Frederic Tcheng from the book by Omar Berrada
Cinematographers: Frederic Tcheng and Giles Piquard
Composer: Ha-vang Kim
English with subtitles
Rating: PG 13 (some profane language)
Running Length: 95 minutes
Christian Dior is a name associated with haute couture, exclusive fashion shows in Paris, photographers, models and hemlines that are copied around the world for the next year until the next showing. 1.5 billion dollars means quite a business. Dior (1905-1957) had verve and dared to be different. To take your name and make it world-wide was something indeed. His “New Look” after WWII was cinched waists, longer and fuller skirts, in other words, a show of abundance for a new age. In this documentary by Frederic Tcheng, we follow the House of Dior as it gains a new designer and someone who literally comes out of left field for the job---Raf Simons (Belgium). Plus, Simons previously designed men's wear, ready-to-wear and is known for a minimalist look--in other words, not much added to distract.
The film begins with the introduction of Raf Simons, and his co-worker, Pieter Mulier, to the Paris building of Dior and to the staff. Inpidual interviews show surprise at choosing someone from outside the country to head this pision of Dior, plus someone who was in “ready-to-wear.” The meeting goes well, and then there are eight weeks for the first Showing of the fashion season. How to introduce yourself to the public in a world where fame is fleeting and mistakes haunt you for a lifetime.
Now, we are introduced into what happens backstage in preparation for a Showing. Models who stand still for hours, dressmakers who fly to New York with clothing and special fittings for clients (a part of the financial set-up of a fashion house). Simons is slowly becoming nervous and still hasn't an idea, until he visits Dior’s mansion (pink) and sees his beautiful garden. An idea! A specially designed fabric that has the design on thread rather than the entire piece of cloth. Rooms of live flowers from ceiling to wall (the word “allergy“ is not mentioned, I don‘t think anyone would dare to sneeze), dresses with flower themes and staff that works without rest for weeks. Reminds one of finals in college. You know, in Paris, when the Showings are---Hollywood stars gather, dignitaries are there, and photographers everywhere for the sneak peak. The word “deadline” takes on enormous impact. This subject matter intrigued me and how lovingly cloth is handled (tissue paper and gloves) and the client comes first. This may be the last bastion of that concept.
Raf Simons appears to be a man of even temperament, but he can show it when the show is on the road. There is a bit of ego, too, as in the statement “…they cannot say no to me.” The camera follows models and Simons and we do get an inside look into what makes a fashion house stay on top. Nerves of steel. a dedicated staff and a mind that never stops creating and this happens in the other fashion houses in Paris, too. A world apart.
Copyright 2015 Marie Asner