Dr Ricarda Bigolin

Ricarda headshot

Dr Ricarda Bigolin

Associate Dean, Fashion and Textiles Design, RMIT University

Research Summary: Current performance research is based around interrogating the charged vernacular and the politics of the fashion show, questioning the constituents of “fashion performance”. Distinctly outside of fashion systems, outlier practices distil the constituent, roles and play with tropes of the familiar components and archetypes of fashion shows and images in fashion performance. The pose, the walk, styling and choreography of the models in fashion shows perpetuate the ideals, desires and exclusiveness of fashion systems; known for perpetuating a glamourous dream and promoting standardised versions of beauty, gender and race. The research explores the way fashion performance can be used as site to express resistance to projected ideals. Practice examples include performances where ‘fashion posing’ has been used, adapted, distilled or rejected as well as the components of fashion shows subverted. The place, space, and “regions’ of a fashion performance are also subsequently questioned. I infuse the conceptions of fashion poses and fashion shows with Irving Goffman (1973) everyday cantered definition of performance as “activity of a given participant on a given occasion which serves to influence in any way any of the other participants” to emphasise the everyday qualities of fashion performance.

Biography: Dr. Ricarda Bigolin is a designer, educator and researcher, currently holding the role of Associate Dean of Fashion and Textiles Design, at RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia. Her research is predominately practice based exploring and questioning the social, cultural, ethical and political context of fashion production and consumption. Key practice includes D&K, a collaborative and critical fashion practice producing garments, performances, exhibitions, texts and films in leading art and design museums, galleries, publications and universities globally. 

D&K was the subject of the artbook/ monograph published by independent and critical design and art publisher Surpllus D&K LOOK BOOK 2019, an exploration and critique of the performance of fashion through image.  Various creative writing and texts by D&K were published in 2019 by Mode and Mode. Patch writing, poetry, and script writing are used to interrogate fashion languages and its broader and everyday relationship to fashion consumption. D&K was awarded ‘Fashion on the Edge Award (2014) and featured in exhibition ‘The Future of Fashion is Now’ at the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam. The practice regularly presents work in performance, exhibition, film and publication internationally. 


Woman in costume leaning back

D&K Covers dress for publication, by Ricarda Bigolin and Chantal Kirby for D&K LOOKBOOK 2019/Mode and Mode seven, launch performance in Amsterdam, 2019. Image by Roos Quakernaat, 2019