I was feeling a bit off colour yesterday, so thought it perfect conditions to sneak off to a film I'd been meaning to see for a while, Dior and I. The film, directed by Frédéric Tcheng follows the arrival of Raf Simons, the new appointed Creative Director to Christian Dior as he, his design team and the incredible haute couture aetelier put together his first collection. They have eight weeks to do it. The film maker interweaves archival footage of Monseiur Dior, throughout the film to add contrast and comparison between Raf and the brand's founder.
Firstly I loved how inspired by art Raf was. He spoke of looking at art on a daily basis. There is a scene where he goes to Centre Georges Pompidou to view a series of paintings by Gerhard Richter hoping to use the paintings to create prints for the collection. It turns out the paintings had too many colours to reproduce with printed thread, a technique he discovered in the Dior archive. So it is the painter, Sterling Ruby whose work he ultimately uses with spectacular results. It was a joy to see the emotion on Raf's face when his vision was realised and the paintings became the most exquisite garments.
One of the things I love about Raf was his self-awareness. He started reading Dior's autobiography but stopped after a few pages because he felt intimidated by it. When he was asked to be included in PR photo shoots for a magazine, again he spoke of feeling intimidated. How refreshing and affirming to see someone in a role like his, afraid of the camera. Shyness and privacy are not always cherished character traits in our publicity obsessed society.
To me, this self-knowledge was fundamental to his design process. He knew he needed to stay free to interpret and design in his own way. I am becoming more aware of this for myself, and I recognise that it takes bravery to tune out those voices or situations that may inhibit our design process.