The Greek Bar Jacket: Marianna Economou’s documentary takes us behind-the-scenes at Dior


French fashion house Dior is synonymous with luxury clothing, accessories and fragrances.

So synonymous, in fact, that Greek director Marianna Economou jumped at the chance to produce a documentary about last June’s spectacular Dior fashion show at the Panathenaic Stadium in Athens, Greece.

This documentary, titled The Greek Bar Jacket, is now set to be screened at this year’s Greek Film Festival at Leichardt’s Palace Norton Street Cinema from October 13 – 23.

The Greek Bar Jacket will offer viewers rare behind-the-scenes access to the fashion house, as the documentary follows Dior’s Artistic Director, Maria Grazia Chiuri, and her creative team from Paris to Athens to small rural cities around Greece, as the emblematic Cruise Show 2022 gradually comes to life.

To find out more about the documentary, The Greek Herald spoke exclusively with Marianna and this is what she had to say.

Tell us about yourself and your role in the film.

I am a documentary film-maker based in Athens. I direct films of Greek and international co-production, as well as documentary series for Greek television. Most of my documentaries have a social perspective and focus on personal stories. I am the director of The Greek Bar Jacket.

How did you get involved in the film?

Somebody from Dior Paris had seen my previous documentary When Tomatoes Met Wagner and when they were thinking of making a film about the Athens Cruise Show and the collaboration of Dior House with small Greek artisans, they contacted me.

Maria Grazia Chiuri told me that she was interested in a Greek female point-of-view and a focus on the human and cultural interchange and aspect of the project. Once we decided on the cooperation, I was given ‘carte blanche.’ 

Marianna Economou.

What drew you to the story of Dior?

I am not a fashion person and the making of this documentary was a true challenge. However, I was immediately taken in by the process of creation and how Maria Grazia Chiuri and her team developed the concept of this project in collaboration with Greek historians, artisans, craftsmen, etc. She is a woman of great vision who believes strongly that big fashion houses like Dior have a social responsibility as well.

Her aim was to promote the idea of gender equality and support small artisans and cottage industries in Greece. Making a film that shows the collaboration of Dior House with small traditional Greek artisans, was an extremely important opportunity to tell the world that folk art is invaluable in designs and techniques and that it should be supported. Also, that traditional arts and crafts can have very interesting expressions in modern design as well.

Why do you think it’s important to give viewers a behind-the-scenes look at Dior?

It is revealing to see the different stages of production for a fashion show, the large numbers of expertise and special talents involved, the hard work and time put into the making of a single garment, the anxiety, excitement, pressure and all the different emotional moments. Behind-the-scenes images reveal the whole process of creation but most importantly the human factor involved.

For me, it was fascinating to observe how different people worked, collaborated and were miraculously coordinated for the spectacular show in the end.

In Paris, designers developing and trying out ideas and in the haute couture ateliers manufacturing garments by hand, Aris in Argos embroidering the bar jacket, Kostas in Soufli producing silk materials, Christiana drawing in Thasos, the Tsalavoutas family manufacturing fisherman’s hats in Piraeus, the Benaki Museum operating antique looms for the production of a cordon, models, musicians, painters, technicians, hairdressers, makeup artists, photographers and production crews from different countries… and hundreds more.

What is next for you?

I am working on something completely different now. It is an extraordinary story about an accidental discovery in a hospital in Athens, which revealed a secret and a personal and collective trauma.

The Greek Film Festival runs from Thursday, October 13 to Sunday, October 23. Screenings will be at Palace Norton Street, 99 Norton Street, Leichhardt, NSW, 2040.

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