Full disclosure: I know essentially nothing about fashion, and literally nothing about haute couture fashion. My knowledge of Christian Dior comes entirely from hip-hop lyrics, and it turns out that puts me squarely outside the target audience for Frédéric Tcheng’s fashion doco Dior and I.
If you’re the kind of person who understands words like ‘atelier’ and ‘premiere’ in the context of high fashion, you’ll likely find a lot to like in the film, which combines a bevy of (presumably) gorgeous frocks with a cross-generational reflection on legacy and artistic obligation. The film opens with Dior’s words about a ‘siamese twin’, and clearly Tcheng intends to frame the fashion label’s new head – Raf Simons – as assuming that fraternal role.
Maybe he succeeds, but for me it came across as a failed attempt to emulate Frederick Wiseman’s immersive docos. The ‘conversation’ between Simons and Dior felt clumsy at best, mawkish at worst, and it’s hard to take a film seriously that follows up a seamstress complaining that “The bottom line is that we’ll work on Saturday” with melancholy music. There’s no reason to expect the film to educate its audience about the vagaries of fashion, but it sure would’ve helped me.