Dior and I review: nicely made, but where are the rampant vulgarities?

And Dior himself comes across like a suburban golfer taking a weekend jaunt to the hardware store

Dior and I
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Director: Frédéric Tcheng
Cert: Club
Genre: Documentary
Starring: Marion Cotillard
Running Time: 1 hr 37 mins

Over the past few years, cinema seems to have been offering us support material for a correspondence course on fashion that we didn't know we'd signed up for. We've had two biopics of Yves Saint Laurent. There was a fine documentary on Diana Vreeland. The weirdly over-rated September Issue dissected Vogue magazine.

As a result, the average stonewashed film fan may find himself approaching Frederic Tcheng's Dior and I with the assurance of a connoisseur.

It’s a nice enough thing. Tcheng interweaves archival musings from Christan Dior with footage of Raf Simons, new creative director of the fashion house, embarking on his first collection. A few convenient dilemmas fail to increase the tension – a key member of personnel vanishes to New York at a mildly inconvenient time – as we drift towards an inevitable triumph.

We wish Mr Simons no ill, but, a Belgian gentleman of no great charisma, he is never likely to be mistaken for Jean-Paul Gaultier. Wandering around in a round-necked jumper, muttering uninterestingly to himself, he comes across like a suburban golfer taking a weekend jaunt to the hardware store.


The film is more interesting when it goes among the men and women (still mostly the latter it seems) who actually stitch the sleeves and straighten the hems. Far from being the characterless stick insects you might expect, they turn out to be serious artisans from a wide range of social backgrounds. One particularly revealing moment find the elite team taking comfort in a bumper box of Haribo sweets.

The film does reference the obscene amounts of money being exchanged – a typical customer spends €350,000 a year – but it never gets properly to grip with the rampant vulgarities of an inherently decadent industry. Though nicely made, Dior and I is every bit as escapist as the last Star Trek movie.

Donald Clarke

Donald Clarke

Donald Clarke, a contributor to The Irish Times, is Chief Film Correspondent and a regular columnist