Elena Bowes

New York-London design & culture writer of a certain vintage looking for meaning and wholeness in life

Inside Dior – a Doc to Download

February 26th, 2017

My passion-for-all-things-fashion pal Nancy invited me to see the new two-part documentary Inside Dior earlier this week at the Bulgari Hotel with the British director Michael Waldman there to answer questions. If you liked Dior and I, about ex-creative director Raf Simons’ challenging, artistic and triumphant first season at Dior, then Inside Dior is a must-see.

Who doesn’t love a touch of glamour, plenty of backstage access and visuals, plus some intriguing background from Harper’s Editor Justine Picardie?

Shot over six months, Waldman captures not just the breathtaking clothes, models and star power behind the $12 billion dollar brand, but the personalities that make it all possible.

Part One of the documentary focuses on the fashion house’s colourful past when Christian Dior’s ‘New Look’ reclaimed Paris as the fashion capital after WWII.



The visionary designer died unexpectantly at 52, just ten years after establishing the brand, leaving his 21 year old genius protegé Yves Saint Laurent to take the helm. Picardie is full of insights about Saint Laurent, as well as subsequent creative directors – including enfant terrible John Galliano –


Each left  their personal mark on the fashion house over the next several decades.



Part Two looks at Dior today,  following Creative Director Maria Grazia Chiuri as she rushes to prepare for her debut show at the Rodin Museum with only a few week’s notice.



Unlike her intense Belgian predecessor, the Italian Chiuri seems to take the pressure in stride. With cropped dyed blonde hair, baggy jeans nipped at the waist with a big belt, sneakers and an infectious laugh, Chiuri is a joy to behold, a woman at ease in her job.

I like a fairy tale, I love a fairy tale, laughs Dior’s first-ever female creative director.

Chiuri jokes and smiles a lot on camera, especially  with her 20-year old daughter and muse Rachele.


Dior’s head seamstress is equally charming. Asked whether she’d ever like to wear one of the couture dresses she spends hours making, she replies,

No, they are for princesses. I am of  ‘le terroir’ (the earth)

The documentary captures every level and occupation that make the brand what it is from the fourth generation family member who heads Dior Fragrance’s jasmine-picking operation in Grasse, France to the Danish model who reads One Hundred Years of Solitude between fittings to the boss, not Springsteen but Bernard Arnault – France’s richest man who controls Dior through his stake in LVMH.

Perhaps most compelling is Waldman’s footage of the real boss – Anna Wintour, who Waldman was told he could not film.


Undeterred, the director learned surreptitiously  that Wintour was visiting Dior for a private viewing. Waldman and his camera man hid in the atelier above the showroom. Waldman held the camera man’s hips steady as the latter dangled from the rafters above the showroom grasping his heavy equipment trying clandestinely to film the unsuspecting Wintour. He catches her without her signature dark glasses, smiling and perhaps most coup-worthy, taking two chocolates.

This is my lunch, Wintour apparently told an assistant.

Get it on film first, ask for permission later – Waldman’s winning strategy.

February, 2017