“Iconic and Beyond Reproach”: The Socio-Aesthetic Relevance of Riverdale


  • Paola Brembilla Università di Bologna
  • Chiara Checcaglini Università di Urbino Carlo Bo




Riverdale, TV Series, Aesthetics, Vintage, Coolness


The purpose of this paper is to explore the aesthetic and narrative design of the TV series Riverdale (The CW, 2017-), where fashion, visual splendor and coolness do legitimate a seemingly non-sense narratives and ultimately contribute to produce cultural and social value.
First, we contextualize Riverdale in the production ecosystem of the youth-geared network The CW. Second, we dwell on the concepts of retro and coolness to understand the mechanisms of Riverdale’s timeless charm and cool attitude. Third, we exemplify these aesthetic strategies by focusing on the design of the three leading female characters. Fourth, we explore the interplay between onscreen representation and offscreen self-representation of the actresses. Finally, we argue that the visual surface of the show becomes a tool to express commercial appeal and empowering values, which are not mutually exclusive.


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How to Cite

Brembilla, P., & Checcaglini, C. (2020). “Iconic and Beyond Reproach”: The Socio-Aesthetic Relevance of Riverdale. ZoneModa Journal, 10(1S), 39–54. https://doi.org/10.6092/issn.2611-0563/10553