Dior, Maternity Leave and I

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This week I am 37 weeks pregnant and, according to the BabyCentre App, our baby is now the size of a stalk of Swiss Chard.

Swiss Chard! Once again I ask myself, what exactly am I growing in my tummy and what is it with BabyCentre’s obsession with vegetables?! Last week it was romaine lettuce, the week before a honeydew melon and not so long ago the baby was the size of an average cantaloupe melon no less. All this talk of fresh legumes quite frankly is not helping with the queasiness.

Ah, yes, nausea. Hello darkness, my old friend. You have returned with a vengeance to torment me and now I am finally, officially On Annual Leave Before Maternity Leave you seem intent on ensuring I take to my bed and weep which prevents me from being in my preferred state – on the move and Getting Sh*t Done. For those who know me, you’ll know I’m not a natural relaxer. Slobbing out has never been my thing. Call me crazy, but the concept of a duvet day fills me with dread. I have to be suffering from full-on flu / concussion / hangover or sprawled on a beach lounger with a good book to spend a few hours supine DURING THE DAY. However, the nausea and lethargy is winning this battle, shuffling has replaced power walking and try as I might, I can’t go for a stroll for longer than 30 minutes without urgently needing a pee. So, I admit defeat – it’s time to put my feet up when the waves of sickness wash over me.

I’ve made myself a deal though and there is one important clause to this contract. If I’m going to rest up, it will be on my terms. No Reality TV (URGH), idling on Instagram, twitting about on Twitter or, worst of all, faffing on Facebook. It will be didactic and I will be kind to my brain as well as my body. I will gobble up films, books and documentaries that have been lurking about on my viewing list for months, and that are, let’s say, relatively educational from a fashion, film or music perspective. That’s fair enough, right?

I’m pleased to report my first venture into this unknown world of Resting has been a resounding success. My inaugural film selection, Dior and I, was extraordinary.

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This beautifully tailored documentary transports the viewer into the illustrious world of the Christian Dior fashion house. Specifically, it provides an insight into the creation of designer Raf Simons’ first haute couture collection as new artistic director of Dior womenswear in April 2012.

Directed by Frédéric Tcheng, the behind-the-scenes account allowed me to be a voyeur into this pressurised, sometimes ridiculous but always incredible world of haute couture. The fashion microcosm was waiting with bated breath for Simons’ debut and the documentary perfectly captured the lead up to his first catwalk show – the emotion, dedication, and hard work that went into the making of 54 perfect handmade outfits in only 8 weeks.

It was an absorbing piece of film-making, with the director using words from and images of the iconic Monsieur Dior, which lends an almost spectre-like presence to the film. I really warmed to the hugely creative Belgian designer Simons; he seemed rather bashful to me, calm and intelligent and intensely focused on his craft but always showing great respect for his team of collaborators.

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Justly, the documentary pays homage to the ateliers, the petits mains, who deliver Simons’ vision and many of whom have been at the fashion house for years – they are an important part of the brand and its heritage. As Simons reflects in Dior and I, ‘designs change, but not the atelier’. Watching them work their magic is nothing short of enchanting.

What I absolutely loved the most though was the creation of the clothes. Oh, the beautiful, alluring and enchanting vestments and the in-depth profile the documentary gave to their conception and creation with the team working into the night and dealing with the pressure and skills involved in producing fashion art.

The climactic catwalk finale at the end of Dior and I, when Simons’ creations are unleashed to an audience including the Princess of Monaco, Marc Jacobs, Donatella Versace, Marion Cotillard, Alber Elbaz, Stella Tennant, and Riccardo Tisci, is absolutely breathtaking. There is a hugely touching moment when the designer is captured alone on the balcony weeping with nerves just before the show must begin.

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For his Dior debut at 51 avenue d’Iéna, Simons blanketed five rooms with a profusion of blooms from ceiling to floor that had even Anna Wintour impressed.  The clothes were nothing short of spectacular and the collection featured a blend of modern, clean and structured garments with a femininity and elegance that remained respectful and true to Dior.

The strapless gowns with clinched in waists and voluminous tulle sat below the knee at mid calf, a length I absolutely adore. A palette of black, grey, velvety midnight blue and soft pastels contrasted beautifully with the illuminating neon make up.  Trouser suits were simple but oh-so-chic and a striking printed Bucol silk coat and dress was inspired by spray-painted canvases done by Simons’ longtime friend and collaborator Sterling Ruby. Fashion history in the making.

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Simons says ‘I don’t want to suggest in any way I am talented enough to compare myself with Mr Christian Dior…’ but I disagree. 

Dior and I actually moved me to tears. That’s not the pregnancy hormones talking, honestly, or the Swiss chard-induced nausea. It was simply my love of fashion and the result of being Christian Dior’d from my head to my toes.

Maybe this resting thing is not so bad after all…

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