Last night was the second and unfortunately last (Morrison was cancelled) Fashion Talks at Freo arts centre.
For those who don’t know Fremantle, it really is a town in itself, filled with historical buildings and old school architecture. The art centre formerly an asylum was a rather strange venue but it held an intimate gathering upstairs for this event.
Anyway, on to the good stuff. Who? Romance Was Born. Or, more specifically, Anna Plunkett and Luke Sales.
This duo launched their label 5 years ago and have produced ready-to-wear collections for even less. Starting out in Sydney, in fashion school together, the name started as a joke from a badge that was a bad English translation and didn’t really make sense.
Famously, after these guys won the International Support Award in Italy, they declined an internship with Galliano (!). Their label was really just created to enter the competition but they both had a creative vision to take it on a different path.
Both designers (and I'm beginning to see a pattern here, think Alison Cotton of Joveeba) are very down to earth, appearing as almost shy of their success, modest and very humble. Anna is softly spoken, looking down and fiddling with the bottom of her dress, it was comforting to see such a ‘real’ person behind the flamboyant and embellished collections that walk down the runway bearing her name. Luke was chatty and it was also great to see the ‘banter’ between the two of them, laughing, remembering stories, looking more at each other and the host then the audience.
If you are not familiar with their collections, let me tell you a few interesting facts that came out from this interview (btw, props to the host, she was fantastic and it showed she had done her research)
You may recognise this dress; worn By Cate Blanchett
Torn apart at the time my media and bloggers and later dubbed “Cate Blanket’, Anna and Luke can only smile and say ‘well it was a blanket, its crocheted, thats the point. It was meant to be a blanket dress’. The way in which they approach this issue is humourous, they may have been the subject of ridicule but they just laugh back at people who criticise. These two very much see the light of things, often seeing the funny side of things and being able to ‘take the piss’ out of themselves (for want of a better expression). I think its a very Australian trait.
This famous finale to their debut solo show at Australian Fashion Week last year also had an interesting story behind it;
The man underneath was not originally meant to be shown, after this dress still being sewn an hour before the show started! They decided to last-minute to show his face, Anna commenting that he wasn’t bad looking for the reason. He walked out on the runway wearing a plastic garbage bag, which was essentially, a mistake! Now hailed as one of the most breathtaking finale shots they have done. It just goes to show how much these two just ‘run with it’ and let their creative juices flow as they want to flow.
They both had various stories that started as jokes or were mistakes and not much gets to these two, they don’t take themselves too seriously and see the humorous side of fashion, much preferring to make one-off pieces rather than ready wear and have only recently introduces a business adviser to their team. Business plan or no business plan, Anna and Luke have what it takes and find the ultimate compliment and satisfaction in seeing someone wear one of their pieces.
Neither of them were fans of fashion bloggers, finding that the internet often breeds negative comments and pages of people writing pessimistic feedback, which you cant blame them for – if you look at articles that say Paul Smith copied one of their designs, you’ll see it followed by a ton of people who have nothing good to say (probably about anyone). Also, the fact that any old John Doe can write a blog is a bit disheartening.
Anyway, I have gone from being very much in awe of their work, their creativity and the extravagance of their designs to also being very full of respect for the both of them.
p.s. I realise this post is very journalist-y, sorry about that :) I just thought it was such an interesting story!!