The Capitol and RMIT put on a long weekend for fashion victims and film fetishes

The Capitol and RMIT put on a long weekend for fashion victims and film fetishes

This weekend, The Capitol and RMIT will be hosting a triple-billed event including an exclusive screening of the film ‘In Fabric’, a Q&A with the director, and a fashion masterclass.

The event kicks-off with an exclusive screening of the A24 award-winning film In Fabric on Friday 11 September.

On Saturday 12 September, film-critic and RMIT research fellow Dr Alexandra Heller-Nicholas will host a live Q&A with award winning director Peter Strickland.

The third and final event of the weekend is a masterclass hosted by RMIT’s School of Fashion and Textiles, featuring Strickland, the film’s costume designer Jo Thompson, Associate dean of Fashion and Textile Design Ricarda Bigolin and lecturer in fashion design Adele Varco.

In Fabric is a darkly humorous and frightening film that centres around a possessed red dress, which unleashes a curse on all who wear it.

The film will be made available to stream online for 24 hours between 7pm Friday 11 September and 6:59pm Saturday 12 September.

Live in-conversation with director Peter Strickland and film critic Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

Heller-Nicholas will be hosting the discussion on Saturday with director and writer Peter Strickland, who is known for his films Berberian Sound Studio and The Duke of Burgundy.

Heller-Nicholas is a Research Fellow in the School of Media and Communication, as well as a film critic, author and film festival programmer.

She recently spoke with Strickland about his career and influences at the Wheeler Centre for the 2019 Melbourne International Film Festival, but said she is looking forward to exploring the world of In Fabric this weekend.

“This time we are really excited to be diving much more deeply into the world of In Fabric - and what a peculiar, captivating world it is!” Heller-Nicholas said.

“Strickland is as experimental as he is playful; he often seeks a sensory response from his audience as much as the usual plot or character driven type of film.

“In Fabric is very funny, and the perfect movie if you want to push your taste boundaries in cinema a little further than your usual comfort zone!”

The live Q&A starts at 7pm on Saturday 12 September.

A masterclass on fashion victims, desire, bodies and consumption

The masterclass will be run by Associate Dean of Fashion and Textiles Ricarda Bigolin and features Strickland, In fabric’s costume designer Jo Thompson, and lecturer and artist Adele Varco.

Jo Thompson is a London-based costume designer who has worked across film, television and commercials – most notably in the films This Is England (2006) and A Street Cat Named Bob (2016).

As the title suggests, the masterclass looks to explore the idea of ‘fashion victims’ – a concept the film depicts in the cursed red dress that torments the protagonist.

Bigolin explained the ‘fashion victim’ as a somewhat derogatory term for someone obsessed with the latest fashion trends and consuming new styles.

“There’s so many sub-elements of the film that relate to fashion in a different way,” Bigolin said.

“I want to engage with the idea that when we buy clothing, we’re also relating to the less-glamorous sides of fashion.”

“There’s also the notion of thinking more deeply about who made our clothes and the many people involved in the production of fashion – when we purchase an item of clothing it’s been touched and potentially worn by other bodies, which is really fascinating.”

Fellow panellist Varco graduated from RMIT’s Bachelor of Fashion (Design) and has since gone on to lead several large-scale art research projects, including Onesie World; a social experiment where Varcoe dressed 2,000 people in matching onesie's. Something she has worn every day for the last ten years.

Varcoe said she is particularly interested in exploring the emotional and social effects of fashion and the way In Fabric expresses the affect a garment can have on one person.

“The possessed red dress really comes back to the question of ‘do we wear clothes or do they wear us?” Varcoe said.

"I'm interested in empowering people to wear what they want, however, if we all do this, this could mean the end of fashion because fashion cannot exist without it's victims." 

Bigolin said she is keen to look at the advertising and branding practices involved with marketing, along with the emotional story that goes into buying something.

“We don’t just buy a dress; we buy the potential for a changed life or a successful date – or not in the case of the film,” Bigolin said.

“I’m keen to keep the discussion as open as possible, focusing on things everyone can relate to – everyone can relate to the notion of wearing something and if it makes you feel good or bad.”

Tickets are available online via Eventbrite and are free for RMIT Students..

$1 from every purchase will be donated to The Social Studio, a fashion business improving the lives of young Australians from refugee or migrant background.


Story: Caleb Scanlon

09 September 2020


09 September 2020


  • fashion
  • Media & Communication
  • Industry
  • Arts and culture

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RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business - Artwork 'Luwaytini' by Mark Cleaver, Palawa.