Dior and I

Frederic Tcheng’s film, Dior and I, provides a rare behind the scenes insight into the world of haute couture.

It also documents an extraordinary piece of fashion history – the creation of the first ever Christian Dior haute couture collection by Raf Simons following his appointment as the House’s creative director. It also happens to be Simons first time doing haute couture. And not only that but he and the dedicated team at Christian Dior have just eight weeks to create it, as opposed to the usual five or six months. The pressure is on! Especially as everything is made by hand.

Tcheng follows Simons, his right hand at Dior, Pieter Mulier and the in-house ateliers as they ultimately create a collection that is so incredibly beautiful as it is modern that it is hailed as a triumph, moving Simons to tears.

Dior is one of the last houses that still keep ateliers in-house: atelier tailleur (for suiting) and atelier flou (for dresses). Many of the steamstresses have worked here for more than 40 years. Christian Dior only helmed his house for ten years before his death in 1957 aged 52.

The film also includes the voice of Christian Dior himself, and the parallels between Dior and Simons thinking and approach are uncanny.

A must see, Dior and I, is in New Zealand cinemas from April 2.

France set to ban skinny models

Models being ‘Paris thin’ might soon see modelling agents end up in jail with France looking set to join other European countries in banning super thin models from working.

The French Government is likely to back a bill that will stop too thin fashion models from walking the catwalk and doing campaign work, as well as potentially fining modelling agents and fashion houses that book them and even sending their agents to jail.

If the bill goes through France will join Italy, Sprain and Israel who already have laws against using excessively thin models. Australia does not yet have similar laws, and each year has a ‘skinny model’ backlash at Australian Fashion Week with many commenters shocked at the thinness of the models.

The legislation will be debated in French parliament on March 17 and will be enforced via regular monitoring of the weights of models, with models booked having to produce a certificate that they have a body mass index of at least 18.

The fashion industry – notoriously pro-thin – has made some attempts to rectify the anorexia and body image problems that remain its legacy.

Some fashion magazines have pledged to no longer use models that were too young or too thin. This is notoriously difficult to police.

However it seems that the public are pushing back on the promotion of unhealthy thinness. Earlier this year a Danish fashion magazine publisher was forced to apologise for using an emaciated model on its cover.

The backlash to the image included the Danish Tax Minister Englebrecht who tweeted an image of the photo with the caption, “I seriously thought that the fashion industry had understood that anorexia is a problem that should be taken seriously.”

In 2010 the practices of the fashion industry were spotlighted when French model Isabelle Caro died due to complications from anorexia nervosa. Caro famously starred in an Italian advertising campaign that showed the devastating effects of eating disorders.

For support and help with eating disorders please contact The Butterfly Foundation.

Do you think the fashion industry is doing enough to stop its eating disorder problem?