ARTICLE GILLIAN SAGANSKY
THE TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL IS KNOWN FOR A WIDE RANGE OF NEW FILMS AND FOREIGN FEATURES SEEKING AMERICAN DISTRIBUTION. WITH SO MUCH TO SEE (AND SO MANY AFTER-PARTIES TO ATTEND), WE'RE BOUND TO FIND A FEW HITS
“The past is not romantic to me. The future is romantic to me,” declares Dior’s creative director Raf Simons, in the feature-length documentary Dior and I, which premiered Friday at TFF. This declaration reflects the work of the forward thinking 46-year-old, who’s inauguration into Dior in 2012 shocked the fashion world, given his modernist aesthetic for which he became known when heading Jil Sander for the previous seven years. The doc begins in April 2012, at the moment Simons is introduced to his staff at the Paris-based atelier. It follows his journey as he is faced with the pressure to create his first ever haute couture collection, and there's another catch: Simons has a total of 8 weeks for a collection that designers are typically given 6-8 months to create. Every second counts, from Simons’s visit to the Pompidou, which incites his desire to incorporate Sterling Ruby’s graphic prints into his collection, to his decision to spraypaint couture pieces given the tight time constraints. Director Frederic Tcheng follows the designer and his endearing right-hand man, Pieter Mulier (with whom he has worked for over eleven years) on their creative journey from concept to realization. The documentary is not without historical perspective—Tcheng intersperses Raf’s present-day experience with flashbacks and voiceovers detailing Christian Dior’s personal creative journey when he was designing the label’s first collection in 1946. Simons proves he can preserve the brand’s legacy while simultaneously advancing it—the ultimate goal of every newly appointed creative director. It is a riveting and intimate glimpse of the innerworkings of one of the most highly esteemed ateliers in the world.