It is often the case that when fashion is shown on film, it’s the legend and the personalities that provide the focus. What I tend to find most interesting, though, are the processes they reveal. These films, whether features or documentaries, provide insight into fashion’s most creative minds, they give us a peek behind the curtain at the processes and work that go on behind the scenes – think of The September Issue and The Eye has to Travel as two particularly good examples. And this month, we are slightly spoilt for choice.
Saint Laurent, a feature film by Bertrand Bonello just out now, is a sumptuous telling of the story of Yves that delves into the stories and extravagances of both the times and his life in the 1970’s. Charting his tale leading up to the unveiling of his Ballet Russes collection of 1976, it is dripping with fabulously dressed women, disco thumping nightclubs and stories of the designer’s excesses. Nominated for several European film awards, Vogue has labeled it as one to watch. If only for an action shot of how wonderful that bohemian aesthetic can look in motion, it’s one we will certainly be viewing in the KOTUR design room.
Dior and I is an altogether different proposition. A documentary made by Frédéric Tcheng (also of Vreeland’s The Eye has to Travel,) it covers Raf Simons’ first 8 weeks in his job as Creative Director of Dior. That those were 8 weeks during which the Belgian designer had to conceive of and stage his first ever couture show makes it riveting. The film is full of emotion and heavy with pressure. There is the pressure on Raf to produce the collection of a lifetime in a quarter of the time normally accorded, the pressure on the company to stage the show (inspired by Jeff Koons’ Puppy, Raf required them to deck out a Paris mansion in over 1 million flowers covering every conceivable wall for the occasion,) and the pressure on the Atelier to bring his creations to life, working late into the final night before lift off, hand beading and tweaking, tears in their eyes as they see their designs become real.
In the film, Raf reveals his inspirations for this critically acclaimed collection. He turns to the archives of Monsieur Dior himself for the shapes, and then to American artist Sterling Ruby’s abstract canvases for pattern – a concept that proves almost, but not quite, impossible for his fabric team to make real. This use of art in fashion, be it for his Koons inspired stage set or Ruby inspired dresses gives a first class lesson on how the lines of creativity can be blurred. As designers who frequently take inspiration from our favorite artists (Koons included) it was fascinating for us at KOTUR to watch his collection evolve – from, quite literally, a picture to a piece of Couture.
Dior and I is a wonderful reminder that, sometimes, fashion tells a much more personal story than one thinks. As the director told Style.com “Making this film reminded me that there are hundreds of people who actually care deeply about how they make it…It’s not just an image, it’s not just about a dress on the red carpet. There’s a whole story behind it, and it’s a human story.”
Photo Courtesy of http://www.diorandimovie.com and http://www.thefashionisto.com/