These artful photographs, by Gerard Uferas, capture the creation of Dior’s Haute Couture Spring/Summer 2012 collection from concept to completion…much like the movie Yves Saint Laurent: His Life and Times/5 avenue Marceau Paris written and directed by David Teboul, Uferas offers us an intimate look at the creative process…his still images allow us to linger and savor the details…
To accompany this photographic journey is an eloquent interview with Uferas describing his own creative process and passion for photography and fashion
What story do your photographs recount?
The idea behind them was to follow the complete making of a collection, from the initial ideas to the final show. This common thread allowed us to recount the entire history of the house and transcribe the impression we all have that the spirit of Christian Dior still animates it, that his spirit is present throughout the collection. The lines he drew are still here, and they are a natural fit with my style of photography.
What did you see during your time at 30, avenue Montaigne?
First of all, I discovered that there is a true dialogue between the studio on the second floor and the ateliers on the fifth. Toiles, prototypes in white cotton canvas, pass between them like love letters. They are interpreted and in the end they tell a story! For me the palette was vast; I wanted to show the human element of the house. The moment when the première d’atelier (head of ateliers) places the sketches on the table and everyone chooses the one they find most inspiring. It has to be love at first sight – there is a true love relationship between a drawing and the couturière who brings it to life. And there also disappointment for those who see their dress cancelled because the color is off.
Many of your photographs are in black and white. Why did you choose this format?
When I started taking pictures, the ateliers were working on toiles : everything was white and I just couldn’t imagine working with an inexistent color. Black and white photography is a slight abstraction; like the toile, it is a bit removed from reality. So one focuses on structure. Color came into the story gradually, just as fabric replaces the toiles. Red made an appearance at the end of the collection, and it also appears toward the end of the exhibition.
What is the relationship between couture and photography?
Photography and fashion are cousins. Both are an applied art: even if the world around it is creative, the ultimate purpose of a dress is to clothe a woman. And that of a photo is to reveal a world. Good photography is a vehicle for emotion. Like a dress, it must be well-constructed. It must have a sense of proportion, a graphic concept and a sense of elegance.
photography by Gerard Uferas, interview from Dior