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"Dior and I": A New Look at the New Look 

Wednesday, Apr 22 2015
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The fashion designer Christian Dior called himself a reactionary. His lucky timing in postwar France let him liberate the boxy-shouldered women of wartime Paris to revel in a blossomy, tiny-waisted femininity for which the culture seemed to yearn. That analysis may or may not be correct, but indisputably, Dior built an à la mode empire, abetting Frédéric Tcheng's latest contribution to ever-burgeoning field of fashion documentaries. It follows newbie Dior artistic director Raf Simons, erstwhile fashion "minimalist," through the expedited creation and delivery of his first haute couture collection. So Dior and I seems like the movie equivalent of one of those glossy multipage ad spreads that thicken up your favorite perfume-scented magazines — or, at best, an extended and extremely haute episode of Project Runway. Here, the pressure is (sort of) on not just to live up to a legacy and create spectacular clothes, but also, upon inspiration from the topiary grandeur of Jeff Koons, to navigate the logistics of lining a mansion's walls with flowers in order to present them. It's fun to see them pull it off, and to see Simons, a broody Belgian, mingling with the humble multilingual craftspeople within his atelier. Going forward, a separate doc exclusively about under-sung seamstresses would not be unwelcome.

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Jonathan Kiefer

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SF Weekly movie critic Jonathan Kiefer is on Twitter: @kieferama and of course @sfweeklyfilm.

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