The Making of a Dior Couture Dress

If you’ve ever seen Project Runway, then you’ve probably seen one of the many couture challenges where the designers have approximately two days and $300 to make an amazing couture gown. The designers inevitably freak out once presented with the challenge and nine times out of ten, they’ll exclaim how it’s “impossible to make a couture dress in two days!”

They’re right. Refinery29 recently collaborated with Visionaire to create a beautiful short film that follows the life of a Dior couture gown from start to finish. From its start as a muslin pattern on the mannequin to the final runway show featuring Creative Director Raf Simmons’ design, we are given a sneak peek into the behind-the-scenes processes that go into making these one-of-a-kind gowns.

When you see a dress in the few seconds it takes to go down the runway, it’s hard to fathom the hours and skills that went into making that garment. It’s hard to even imagine how a project like that begins. In the film, one of the first things we are shown is the muslin mock-up of the pattern and the workroom that’s making the fabric. Dip-dying ribbons and hand-sewing them onto the fabric that will eventually make up the skirt is the job of this first workroom. One of the seamstresses jokes that “these stripes will drive us crazy.” All in the name of couture, right?

The fabric, neatly folded and wrapped in tissue paper, is transported to a pleating house. There, the master pleaters lay the fabric on a contraption that sandwiches it between two layers of a mold. The mold is then rolled up and placed in a super steaming machine to set the pleats in place.

The pleated fabric is sent to the seamstresses that fabricate the actual gown and other Dior couture pieces. These men and women are the best of the best and are the ones who really bring the dress to life for the creative team to see.

The final shots of the video show the styling details that will complete the runway look. After watching the endless hours of work that go into the garment, seeing how exactly it’s made, there’s something really special and satisfying about seeing it on the runway.

This video offers incredible insight into the couture world and the reasoning behind those crazy prices. The hefty price tag makes sense after seeing all of the people and skills that go in to making just one dress—we don't even want to think about the time that goes into making an entire collection! Check out the full video below: