Glamorous and elegant, the fashion documentary Dior and I (12A) **** takes its business very seriously.
This is no Zoolander-style satire about the ridiculousness of models and the excesses of designers but a clear-eyed, admirable accessible look into the creative process of a couture collection, showing how creativity and pressure can result in a moments of great beauty.
When respected but little-known designer Raf Simons gets the call, following the notorious dismissal of John Galliano in 2011, to become Creative Director at the legendary house of Christian Dior, he has just eight weeks to come up with this first haute couture collection.
The documentary maker Frederic Tcheng is there every step of the way, from the first stitches of the seamstresses to the dazzling floral arrangements for the show.
These characters are highly skilled and intelligent people, so the film becomes a study of creative and collaborative tension, a sort of The Red Shoes for fashion mavens. Simons himself is a far from flamboyant personality, but his shyness and humility are intriguing when mixed with his steely determination, leadership and clearness of vision.
Adding another texture, Tcheng movingly interweaves memoirs and footage of the original Christian Dior, whose ghost hovers over all the action and appears to both haunt and inspire Simons’s every decision. Fabulous, in a good way.