In “L.A.dy Dior,” a promotional short film for the brand’s collection of handbags, director John Cameron Mitchell brings levity to the world of high fashion. The result is a world gratifyingly accurate: elusive, sophisticated, and with just a hint of neurosis.
French export Marion Cotillard is the tortured muse of a brigade of stylists, make-up artists, photographers, and agents, all drafted to produce a photoshoot for the iconic Lady Dior Bag. The delicate, ladylike tote finds personification in Cotillard, until the icon is pushed to the edge.
The fashion team marinades in self-aggrandizement as poor Cotillard is inconsiderately pushed and prodded into perfection. Dozens of Lady Dior Bags, the real stars, lounge lazily in the idyllic Los Angeles background.
The fictional crew is exceptionally groomed. The Director of Photography conscripts a Fabio-look-a-like as production assistant while extracting a few aides from the gym and tanning salon long enough to manipulate the lighting in Cotillard’s favor (a laborious task, no doubt). One leech, presumably an agent, sits slovenly on the sidelines, at one point receiving a massage as his client’s frustration builds.
Tension rises until the much-feared, proverbial “snap” of the tormented ingénue. Cotillard’s mordant smiles give way to an exasperated, albeit reliably stunning panic. “I can’t handle this photoshoot,” a tightly wound Cotillard tells an anonymous suit.
The film gives into the joke of fashion as excessively over-produced and self-important. While Cotillard falls apart, the real star manages to keep it together, and Lady Dior bags seem to withstand the stress. Comedy and fashion may appear an ill-fitting conflation, but Cameron Mitchell and Cotillard succeed in this light-hearted campaign for the iconic brand.
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