#coachlearninginsport: joining an established team


Earlier this week, I had an opportunity to watch the film Dior and I.
I think this is a great resource for coaches to consider. In fact, I rate it as highly as a non-sport coaching resource as Leonard Bernstein‘s The Love of Three Orchestras (1986).
It would be a great stimulus to coach learning conversations about leading and following.

Dior and I

This is the description of the Dior film (2014) from the film website:

Dior and I brings the viewer inside the storied world of the Christian Dior fashion house with a privileged, behind-the-scenes look at the creation of Raf Simons’ first haute couture collection as its new artistic director—a true labor of love created by a dedicated group of collaborators. Melding the everyday, pressure- filled components of fashion with mysterious echoes from the iconic brand’s past, the film is also a colorful homage to the seamstresses who serve Simons’ vision.

The director of the film, Frédéric Tcheng, observes:

The house of Dior is a storied world where managers, artists, and workers collaborate on a daily basis to create a vision and I consider the film to be an ensemble piece. Through immersing the viewer in the world of Dior and revealing the extraordinary effort required to produce a collection, I hoped the film would ultimately reveal a cross section of Parisian life…


There is one sentence in the film that really encouraged me to think about what it means to join a team … as the head coach. There is a discussion about Christian Dior‘s legacy and one of the staff point out that Dior was at the fashion house for ten years (1947-1957) and yet everything that happens today is grounded in his vision … sixty years on.
Some of the key issues for me are:

  • Raf Simons is appointed as Artistic Director to ‘modernise’ the Dior haute couture collections.
  • He is not fluent in French.
  • He brings with him Pieter Mulier as his studio director.
  • There is an established culture in the fashion house.
  • Two ateliers (tailleur and flou) have been responsible for decoding artistic directors’ visions for sixty years.
  • When Raf arrives there are two longstanding premieres of the ateliers (Monique Bailly, tailleur; and Florence Chehet, flou).
  • Both ateliers have 105 expert artisans who are practised in producing haute couture under significant pressure.

The film covers the eight weeks from Raf’s introduction to staff to his first show.

Just as Leonard Bernstein’s film had shared with me the profound understanding that he brought to conducting classical music, Dior and I introduced me to the visual aesthetic that Raf brought to haute couture. I was struck too by the process he used to deliver 54 looks for his first collection.

Three other themes came through to me in the film:

  • Raf’s ability to reference early Dior designs.
  • His use of guidelines (codes) to create autonomy for the design team to interpret his vision.
  • His connection with art to inform his thinking … and challenge his and others’ creativity.

The film concludes with the launch of the first collection. To avoid a spoiler report, I do think that the ending is a wonderful virtuous circle. The end also illustrates how even artistic directors become nervous and apprehensive before big performances.


I do think that experiences outside sport enrich our understanding of coach learning.
Dior and I is a 90 minute film. It would be fascinating to have an unmeeting learning opportunity where coaches came having seen one or both of the films mentioned in this post. I imagine there would be big issues to discuss and some granular detail.
This 1 minute 48 second trailer for Dior and I could be a start.


Photo Credit

Discussing dress design (Dior and I Gallery)
Raf Simons (theindustry)


Some recent news about Raf and Pieter.


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