Roaming for Romance

Roaming for Romance

I felt semi proud of myself that I willed myself into visiting designers the day I got to Sydney. Yay for getting organised and feeling quasi-useful. That is until I started lagging everyday and falling asleep mid-afternoon. Fail.

However in my early bout of energy, first on my preview hitlist was Romance was Born, whose shows I have been following haphazardly on the internet. It's also the label which every Aussie I have ever met always says is very 'me'. Kooky, crazy, out-there, outlandish… ah yes of course.  This is all so very 'me' apparently. Still, I didn't want to JUST purely be blinded by crazy hi-jinx which only goes so far before it becomes wearying and I had a feeling that beyond the theatrics, Romance Was Born has a lot more to give.

I met Anna Plunkett and Luke Sales of the label who were midway through doing fittings for their show at their studio. Whilst they were pondering fits, I was distracted by a pleasingly furry roaming dinosaur that would feature and inform the Jurassic era based theme.  Actually, it was a 'diorama' created by artist Kate Rohde.  Speaking of which, Rohde is just one of their many many collaborations with local artists, that take you to lands far away whatever theme they so choose be it Wall Street (A/W 10), under the sea (S/S 09-10) or for the latest collection, the prehistoric era mixed with the renaissance.  

RWB well and truly stand on their own lonesome island in the Australian fashion landscape and even when I think of loose comparisons to labels such as KTZ, Jeremy Scott, Bernhard Willhelm, upon closer inspection of the clothes themselves, I feel that Anna and Luke really do have their own sense of whimsy to everything they do that is both informed by their overriding theme as well as their desire to use interesting/suitable fabrications.  I hate using the word "couture" lightly but with a lot of their one-off pieces, that term can be applied in some respects with regards to the amount of hand work that is required.  Let's throw out "cartoon couture" if we're gonna go down the road of catchy phrasing…

Thanks to Anna and Luke for allowing me into their furry/sequinned/rainbow/printed lair…



Anna wearing RWB achingly well… me thinks Anna and Luke both design to their own personal needs as well, which is a healthy indication…


Luke here getting horny with my favourite RAFW model Rachel Rutt at his side…


I sifted through some of some classic RWB archive pieces… prints by Del Kathryn Barton on a chiffon scarf and an intarsia rose knit…

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Onto the S/S 10-11 collection that would visit the marvels of the renaissance and then rewind a few thousand years to the times of the dinosaurs giving a heady mix that involved some mighty tremendous collaborations…

… like this woven chain mask by Erin Field and RWB using Pandora charms…


…shoes designed by Terry Biviana and RWB…


…marbled fabrics by Melissa Polynkova…


RWB's digital print of the season features the aforementioned dioramas that roam together all on shirts, dresses and on heels and thigh-high boots…


Collaborations aside, RWB themselves have been hard at work ruffling up some chiffon to make this topiary like texture where the dioramas could possibly be grazing…


… and the beaded and embroidered evil eyes that are out to hypnotize you…


After deducing that individually broken down, the clothes are the wondrous puzzle pieces that I'd like to pull out excitedly al the time, I guess we have to talk about the theatrics.  Held at the MacLaurin Hall at the University of Sydney, we were basically led into a Hogwarts-esque hall preceded by the dioramas displayed in resin cases and Gothic-style hall is juxtaposed against a recreation of prehistoric flora and fauna complete with tortoise and hatching eggs…



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Then we got a genuinely authentic Jurassic Park moment where a t-rex could be heard stomping which of course led to the RWB models stomping out to a super effective drum-based soundtrack.  Seeing all the clothes styled and maxed-out with body painting and faces adorned with lace were of course as high octane as you could get and from RAFW, is probably the only production with such a heavy dose of theatrics and effects that really roused the audience.  I'm told this is thus far the biggest and most extravagant RWB show yet and whilst it was a ride and a half and of course amazing to see Anna and Luke fantasise completely and utterly, I'm also glad that I got to see them and their clothes in a quieter context that justifies why they exist as a fledging clothing label with a fanbase that don't just want to SEE RWB come to life but wear them too (proven by many peeps in the audience wearing their clothes…).



Leave a comment
  1. Stylesplash

    2010-05-06 at 5:24 PM

    Really great, I love the combination of the colorful print and the transparent black skirt. Not talking about those shoes and the crochet mask! Great!

  2. Sumo

    2010-05-06 at 5:24 PM

    the shoes look great!!!

  3. Isabelle

    2010-05-06 at 6:12 PM

    Romance Was Born is a brilliant label, cheers for the pics

  4. Jennifer

    2010-05-06 at 6:22 PM

    Everything is so cool and kooky, I love the jacket Anna wears, plus the prints and general craziness of everything.

  5. Ginger

    2010-05-06 at 6:46 PM

    Oh to be there, it’s all so magical!

  6. KÍA

    2010-05-06 at 7:12 PM

    wow wow it’s like what I imagine but only so much better

  7. amalie

    2010-05-06 at 7:21 PM

    wow, awesome stuff! love the colors and prints 🙂

  8. WendyB

    2010-05-06 at 7:37 PM

    I’m getting more and more into patterned boots. I definitely want a pair.

  9. robin humphrey

    2010-05-06 at 7:37 PM

    omg! what is going on here?! i LOVVVVEEE it! the turtle was the cherry on top for me!

  10. Laura

    2010-05-06 at 7:55 PM

    the shoes the shoes! wow!!!!

  11. snappy

    2010-05-06 at 8:49 PM

    Amazing photographs. Especially love the digital print dress and the beaded mask. Also loving the female model on the male models shoulder, great runway surprise I’m sure. Very snappy!
    snappy x

  12. Clairey

    2010-05-06 at 8:59 PM

    One word; Wow! Each piece is absolutely beautiful, the craftmanship is fantastic! Thats alot more than one word.

  13. margief

    2010-05-06 at 9:05 PM

    it actually hurts to look at these and know i cant have them…they are such beautiful prints

  14. Becca

    2010-05-06 at 10:06 PM

    Amazing collection … but what I love most are the shoes! Fantastic.

  15. Sabine

    2010-05-06 at 11:11 PM

    The prints are divine. If I can’t get an Alexander McQueen there seem to be great alternatives. What is it with these face masks? Did Lady Gaga intitiate them or did she just pick up on the trend?

  16. All Women Stalker

    2010-05-06 at 11:53 PM

    Oh man, it must be awesome to be surrounded by such creative people.

  17. Rikki

    2010-05-07 at 1:30 AM

    Hi Suzie! This is a bit weird and stalker-y but I’m Luke and Anna’s friend, the one who wrote the email.. hahaha, luke told me he read it to you, kinda embarrassing, anyway I saw you at the show but only as you darted backstage to get some more pics I suspect, it was a real pity I missed meeting you cause I totally love your blog, anyhoo so glad you liked the show, they work soooo hard to put their stuff out there. Hope you keep on enjoying the rest of fashion week!
    ps.. I’m the one with the pink legs here… I see you got snapped too! 😉

  18. Gnarlitude Jen

    2010-05-07 at 2:45 AM

    Completely loved the show & way into seeing your visit to their studio.
    Sidenote: Rachel Rutt is seriously my fav model chick. Nice to hear you really dig her too.

  19. Rikki

    2010-05-07 at 3:26 AM

    pps. That print from Oysters and Pearls on the silk scarf is actually by Patrick Doherty too! 😉

  20. Risk and Compliance

    2010-05-07 at 4:54 AM

    Really brave piece. I love the dark dresses.

  21. LEonidas

    2010-05-07 at 12:02 PM
  22. Sophia

    2010-05-07 at 5:23 PM

    I love the print pieces! They somehow seem very organic. <3

  23. msprizzmom

    2010-05-08 at 10:38 PM

    The colors an designs are amazing! I love them!!!

  24. Linda

    2010-05-09 at 12:08 AM

    omg everything is so crazy awesome

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