A Mystical (& Very Sparkly) Evening at Australian Fashion Week With Photographer Richmond Kobla Dido

Gadigal Land

— May 17, 2024 —

If you've been anywhere near social media this week, you might have noticed we're still all calling for a Free Palestine(!). You also may have noticed there's been an uptick in cool people in VERY good fashion — we can thank Australian Fashion Week for that. The annual event has brought out a stunning lineup of our favourite Sydney siders, and the runways have been overflowing with summer fit inspiration and beachwear (more on that to come).

First, we wanted to kick off our fashion week coverage with a glamorous bang. We asked our friend and very talented photographer Richmond Kobla Dido to head backstage on Wednesday night to photograph what we were sure was going to be the sparkliest, most over-the-top, fun-filled evening—and boy, were we on the money.

First, he popped in to say hi to Anna and Luke at Romance Was Born, where they had collaborated with indigenous artist Zaachariaha Fielding on their Resort ‘25 collection ‘The Nothing’. Giant orbiting moons were suspended over their runway, and backstage, the atmosphere was just as heavenly (see above for proof).

After that, he jetted across to Nicol & Ford where designers Katie and Lil had created an elaborate and breathtaking collection, 'Thorn', an ode to Kings Cross figure Rosaleen Norton who was "misunderstood and persecuted for the liberal life she led... adopting sensationalist headlines to become 'The Witch of Kings Cross'". 

See the night through the eyes of Richmond in the gallery above, then hear more about the magic backstage below.


Name: Richmond Kobla Dido
Nickname: Kobla
Star Sign: Pisces

For those who don’t already know you, can you give us your elevator pitch:
Well, I'm a portrait/documentary photographer and creative director based in Sydney. I’m originally from Ghana in West Africa, and I’m also one half of a photography duo called HaKd Studios with the aim of capturing unique stories through the medium of photography. 

What was going through your head getting ready to head backstage on Wednesday night?
The calm before the storm [laughs], the backstage rush is always a mix of excitement and nerves. Having to navigate through the many photographers and MUA/hairstylists —you never know what you’re going to encounter — but that’s the thrill of it, and it keeps you on your toes to ensure you capture your vision of the night.

Can you describe the atmosphere backstage at Romance Was Born:
We got to Romance Was Born perhaps half an hour before the show started, and it was like stepping into a colourful whirlwind of energy and passion, not just from the team but also reflected in the clothing. As a creative watching all the pieces come together on the models, my brain was just going off as to future editorials with these unique pieces of clothing. 

And the atmosphere at Nicol & Ford?
Straight off from capturing behind the scenes at Romance Was Born and stepping into Nicol & Ford definitely had a contrast, especially in terms of the looks presented. Nicol & Ford felt almost like stepping into an editorial photoshoot. Models were being prepped and immediately sent off to shoot lookbooks, which definitely highlighted the fact that this was more than just a catwalk. The array of diversity and inclusion in this show, not only in terms of race but also different body types, ages, genders, etc, was not missed. As a black photographer, sometimes going to shows can feel alienating, and usually you are the one and only, if not two, so seeing such a diverse cast was a highlight.

What was your favourite look/piece you photographed?
This is a hard one to answer as I personally loved a lot of pieces from Romance Was Born, and I think the makeup looks were very enchanting. I loved these three looks below which I'm thinking of a concept for a shoot. 

Favourite photograph from the night?
I have two, actually. The first one is based purely on the collective gasp everyone had when the model first walked after the look had been temporarily finished. It’s this one plastic film piece by Nicol & Ford, which I think definitely had everyone in the room in shock. 

The second one was this photograph of model Josephine at Romance Was Born. I just loved the look of the photo and how ethereal the makeup looked on her. You asked about star signs earlier, and just something about this photo reminded me of that. 

And was there a particular model/models that stood out to you?
Josephine stood out to me, actually, as we had previously spoken online about organising a shoot for HaKd, which unfortunately fell through, but we are hoping for it to happen in future. Minky was also incredible — her eyes always found the camera even in group photos which I thought was amazing. 

Did you meet anyone new/interesting/inspiring backstage?
I met Halla for the first time at a show; we had spoken in the past about her difficulties navigating the modelling industry, so seeing her walk a show on this scale made me so happy for her.

You ventured backstage with your friend and collaborator, Hameed Akinwande. What was the best part about having him by your side?
Working with Hameed is always a vibe. We bounce ideas off each other so easily, and since we basically work together as a duo, sometimes we’ll set up shots for each other as well, which made the night go a lot smoother.

I can’t also leave without saying that diversity behind the scenes of fashion week is a conversation that still needs to be had. Getting to work hand in hand with another POC photographer to cover two shows is something I’ll never take for granted. 


Photos: Richmond Kobla Dido     
Features Editor: Chloe Hill 

We acknowledge the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation as the traditional owners of the land on which these shows took place.


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