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Over the past few months, I’ve had something akin to a block, creatively speaking, life got in the way of my creativity and I let some things fall by the way side. Last weekend I was bent on rectifying that; I moved my room around, this always helps navigate my brain in a way, and then I embarked on a creative bender starting with the September Issue and ending with Dior and I. I watched The Editor’s Eye and The Eye Has to Travel in between. There is something about a good documentary that can challenge one’s imagination, inspire creativity and light a spark. Fashion documentaries do that. Its seeing the rawness of the process laid bare.
I saw Dior and I for the first time last weekend and then several times this week, and fell utterly in love with it; its a behind the scenes look at Raf Simons first collection for Christian Dior which also happened to be couture, and he had eight weeks. It works us round the archives of the house and introduces us to the women and men who make it all possible. The stresses, the emotions, and the earthquakes.
Looking from the outside in, it easy for us to forget that fashion designers are humans themselves, emotionally fragile creatures, whose life’s work is always on display and dependent on the opinion of many. Simons reveals a little of himself, in various parts, his past at Jil Sander and his true feelings on minimalism, a label synonymous with him. He is a designer who appreciates dressing woman and wants them to feel most comfortable in his clothes. In the moments leading up to the show Simons is a ball of nerves as the magnitude of what was about to happen hits him. It’s the lasting fear that something will go wrong, or that the powers that be will not like it. I suspect this is what most other designers go through. Couture is no walk in the park, its specific to its craft which is why there aren’t too many houses around today. It is a complete labour of love, unlike RTW that is more distant, couture comes through a distinguished eye; it harkens back to the past and brings it all alive.
Dior & I shows a vulnerability we miss in the melee of fashion weeks, the cameras and the celebrity. We often forget what we are there for, most important, why we are there, and this brings it all back right round. I wish I’d seen this in the cinema, but its definitely worth the watch at home.