Ricarda Bigolin, Nella Themelios #thathautecouturefeelingOpening: Wednesday 20 March, 6–9pm (including poetry reading) Dates: 19 March-6 April 2013
Dolci & Kabana present their second major project, #thathautecouturefeeling in collaboration with fashion/design practice AFTRS. For most of us, haute couture – the highest of high fashion – remains a myth-like concept, so removed from reality that it becomes a vague feeling of desire, an out-of-reach constructed image of fashion. Coupled with this is our reality of luxury fashion houses experienced through their diffusion lines: the less expensive branded t-shirt or treasured packaging. This familiar (fashion) tension of longing for the one whilst living with the many, the high and the low, the ‘haute’ and the diffused is the subject of this exhibition.
thathautecouturefeeling collects a palette of what Dolci & Kabana call ‘haute couture feelings’: relatable, palpable ways we experience fashion-like, heightened states of emotion in everyday life. The exhibition is framed around a poem: a ‘Merchandise Poem’, unraveling this palette of ‘high’ and low feelings, love and loss, luxury, tragedy and humour as a branding gesture. The Merchandise Poem also encapsulates the limitations and artifice of projecting the ‘ideal woman’ or muse of a brand, instead celebrating a woman of awkward glamour, repressed earnest desire, clumsiness and subtlety. The sentiments of the Merchandise Poem are further explored in music or ‘Merchandise Karaoke’ – a simulated form of karaoke that unpacks the emotional resonance of music through lyrics, YouTube videos, and Google image searches.
Finally, ‘haute couture feeling’ is explored through ‘haute merchandise’ – an oxymoronic form developed by AFTRS, which fuses high technical proficiency with diffused, simplified, haphazard and playful techniques. Using the Merchandise Poem as a design brief, AFTRS investigates dress standards that imply such extreme states or feelings, expressing these ideas as a sequence of collided codes of palpable luxury: sleep/evening wear, generic materials, promotional garments, packaging as content and the dissolution of conspicuous branding signatures through hackneyed printing techniques. In an extreme act of ‘diffusion’, AFTRS disperses the Dolci & Kabana brand, overworking it to dissolve the iconography of style.
thathautecouturefeeling forms part of the Cultural Program of the L’Oréal Melbourne Fashion Festival.
Dolci & Kabana (Ricarda Bigolin & Nella Themelios) is a collective operating amorphously between the fields of art, design, and fashion.
AFTRS (Ricarda Bigolin) is a drifting/parasite fashion/design practice. Concerned with the after-thoughts of fashion production and consumption, embracing the aspiration and resignation within the inevitable fallacies and fantasies of fashion.