Having watched Project Runway, the reality show about bickering, wannabe designers, I didn't have high hopes for Frederic Tcheng's Dior and I. I was pleasantly surprised.
The film documents Dior's freshly-minted creative director Raf Simons' quest to produce his first collection. Tcheng uses an inventive narrative and frequent close-ups to reveal the pressure that comes with shouldering the image of one of the world's top fashion houses. You shudder with Simons when the dresses aren't delivered on time. Snippets of Christian Dior's memoirs are read out, serving as a commentary to what Simons is experiencing.
The film is eerily beautiful, especially the scene where Tcheng projects footage of Dior onto test garments made of white muslin.
As well as portraying Simons as shy, but fiercely determined, Tcheng allocates a good deal of screen time to the stories of the skilled seamstresses whose hands turn Simons' concepts into reality, and how they cope with Simons' demands and clients' deadlines.
Tcheng's film is gripping, emotional and humorous. It's a work of art in itself.