'Dior and I" is a workplace film, one of those documentaries that follow a hive of workers pushing toward an end goal under the guidance of a determined, forward-looking boss. The marvel of what can be accomplished when humans labor together in concert is often inspiring.

The question here, though, is — what is being accomplished? Opulent dresses and outfits are being dreamed up and manufactured for the benefit of the ultra-rich. It's not like these people are banding together to create houses for the poor or cure some terrible disease or even make a sick kid's dream come true.

So perhaps a bit of context might have helped. Some explanation of the sociological and psychological importance of fashion, some history of how the haute couture collection being worked on might ultimately influence the lives of mere peons around the world. Unfortunately, no such context is offered. We're privileged to watch how Dior makes ridiculously expensive clothes. Isn't it just fabulous?

At times. At other times it's a bit repetitive and indulgent. The film does introduce us to another world. Why we should care about that world is never addressed. It's just assumed that we do. How can we not? It's fabulous, remember?

The story here is that a new artistic director — what happened to the previous artistic director is never addressed — is being brought in to run the famed fashion house. He's a Belgian named Raf Simons and he has only a couple of months to come up with Dior's latest collection. Oh, the artistic pressure.

We watch as Simons introduces himself to the troops of seamstresses and fabric specialists and sketch artists under his command, most of whom seem to have spent years happily sewing away for Dior. Simons doesn't actually sketch designs himself, he takes the sketches of others and refines them this way and that. He decides he wants fabrics that match a specific painter's work and sends assistants scurrying off to make it happen. He casts the lithe models who will walk around in his creations. He is an overseer who has the last call on everything.

Luckily for the film, Simons seems to be a pretty level-headed guy, not some pompous impresario or preening showboat. But he certainly understands the over-the-top ethos of high fashion. He sets his show in a mansion and has all the walls covered in colorful arrays of flowers, an impressive display of wanton wastefulness. Again — fabulous!

In the end, we watch as the invited wealthy — including Jennifer Lawrence, Sharon Stone, Marion Cotillard and Harvey Weinstein — sit among the flowers, watching stone-faced models march by in Simons' creations.

If only "Dior and I" told us why we should care.

'Dior and I'


Not rated

Running time:

90 minutes

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