It’s 2012 at the famous Dior fashion house, and newly appointed creative director Raf Simons has a reputation for minimalism and experience in ready-to-wear collections.

Dior And I follows the Belgian designer and his exceedingly charming right-hand man, Pieter, as they attempt to present their first haute couture collection in just eight weeks – a feat that normally takes four to six months.

Part of the incumbent history of this house is Christian Dior himself, a fashion enigma who brought femininity to the fore in the post-war period. Interludes throughout the film include readings from his notably eccentric memoir alongside vintage footage of the inner workings of the French fashion house. While these moments provide valuable insight into the man behind the name, they also illustrate the impact of the brand on the fashion world. Ironically, these are presented somewhat ham-fistedly thanks mainly to the overdone voiceover and irksome music choice.

The real star of this film is the modern day footage from behind the normally closed doors of high-end fashion. The extravagance, detail, time, talent and inspiration involved in putting together a haute couture collection speaks to the uniqueness of this form of design as it straddles the worlds of both art and fashion. Obviously the clothes form an essential part of this story, but it’s the people who continue to maintain the brand’s legacy that are truly fascinating. Discovering the history of Dior through the experiences of these long-serving staff and seeing their utter dedication to their craft is truly inspiring.

Director Frédéric Tcheng is no stranger to the fashion realm, having previously worked onDiana Vreeland: The Eye Has To Travel,about the influential Harper’s Bazaar editor, and Valentino: The Last Emperor, which chronicles the life of Valentino Garavani. Here Tcheng again demonstrates his prowess with this subject matter by presenting a very engaging tribute to the rarefied world of haute couture.

4/5 stars

Dior And I is showing at Sydney Film Festival from June 13-15.

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