The day after I watched the engrossing documentary "Dior and I", which juxtaposes old footage of Christian Dior with the house's most recent head, Raf Simons, I read that Simons was leaving his prestigious job.
Suzy Menkes wrote an empathic post here; if you read between the lines, she's implying Simons was burnt out, and that anyone would be, given the relentless pace of collections, PR duty, and leadership of one of the few remaining houses that does its couture work in on-site ateliers.
(The most intriguing part of the film is seeing les petits mains at work, and briefly entering their culture of mastery and fierce pride.)
At first I wondered, what does the resignation of an acclaimed designer have to do with the average woman, for whom a Dior label will only be attained via a lipstick?
|Keira Knightly in Dior couture|
When I watched models walk in Simons' Dior couture, I realized how few ready-to-wear items sold in department stores acknowledge women's bodies. Too many feature dolman sleeves that drag the torso lower than an old bra. Tees called "relaxed" are just plain boxy. Jeggings cannot replace a well-cut pair of pants, but on rack after rack, lycra has triumphed over tailoring.
A number of women, frustrated with quality—especially of fabrics—have literally taken matters into their own hands.
My friend Judy recently took up sewing. (She's based in Houston and spends summers in Montreal; be sure to visit her blog about her favourite city.)
Her husband, proud and bemused, said, "I've known Judy for twenty-five years, and she has never been very interested in clothes—now she's making them!" Unable to find what she wanted to wear to a wedding, she set out to copy a well-worn, beloved blouse. She found two colours of the same handwoven silk, bought herself a machine, and hit it out of the park:
|Judy's first piece|
|Blouse becomes vest|
|Next up: Vogue vest|