australia fashion week: romance was born

(images via vogue)

so despite all the rabid drooling and heavy panting a lot of kids do surrounding the designers anna plunkett and luke sales’ label romance was born, i honestly have to admit after several seasons following their wares (see s/s 2011, s/s 2012, s/s 2013, a/w 2013), i’ve been at best kind of on the fence and at worst, rather skeptical of their motives, finding it all a bit of an attention-pander. but! even the cynic in me has a heart (at least, at times), and there were those times their s/s 2014 range, with all its kawaii moments and cotton candy colours wore me down and drew me in.

maybe part of it was that the upcoming spring’s work reminded me of what might happen if opt’s beloved meadham kirchhoff took up residence in tokyo, and i mean that in the most enthusiastic possible way. anyway, for the designers’ latest showing in sydney, titled ‘mushroom magic,’ yen magazine explained that “(w)illingly and with gay abandon, you tumble headfirst, falling into a world that has turned quite topsy-turvy, like some psychedelic dream. With a puff and a poof, you land softly, cushioned by your frilly skirts and petit-coats. You have fallen into a Pip and Pop sparkling wonderland. As the shimmery dust settles, you gaze across a luminescent landscape, where every horizon is crystal crusted and cloudy meringue hilltops sprout the most delicate sugary flowers, where mandala pathways lead into mystic forests. Cute creatures peep shyly out from behind spotted magic mushrooms that seem to beckon, ‘eat me.'”

and while we could spend most of our day drawing out the nonsensical even further, perhaps we should hone in on point; the sydney morning herald reported that “(t)he aim is thought provocation and unlimited artistic abandon not mass consumption. For those who sat in the bleachers on Monday night amid a Willy Wonka-meets-Alice In Wonderland set by Tanya Schultz, the artist behind PIP and POP, Romance Was Born filled a void that is sometimes lacking in everyday dressing with fantasy, whim and weirdness.  From Mushroom Magic, expect blouses, t-shirts and dresses boasting psychedelic pastels embellished with mushrooms and Disney cartoon appliquéd and large pussy bows.”

and as pages digital more simply summed things up as “a mix of sharp 60s silhouettes and psychedelic 70s prints,” an eternally-enthused marie claire yammered on that “(g)iven the theme, it was easy to assume that Sales and Plunkett would have to rethink their approach from last year. While their 2012 Marven Comic collection had an ease of wearability, this year’s ‘Maidens to Princesses’ range was a visual feast for the eyes, with full skirts, puffy shirts and dramatic capes in bold prints vying for attention. ‘We don’t really follow fashion trends, but we focus on prints, and we have noticed amazing engineered prints to be a real focus,’ said Luke Sales…Indeed they were, with bright pinks and rich purples fusing together to create an almost psychadelic effect.”

“Guests were invited down RWB’s hyper colour rabbit hole, to be greeted by a cheery collection of childlike graphic prints and playful silhouettes that could have came straight from the psychedelic ’60s or peace-loving ’70s,” shrieked fab sugar. “Cutesy dolly dresses and textured flares lead the way for a lineup of dreamlike dresses, made all the more extravagant by the addition of puffy chiffon sleeves, tight, tutu-like tulle frills and solid pearl and sequin embellishment,” and pedestrian similarly blathered that “(t)he clothes – which inspired awe and joy – are a wholly unique expression of two artists unbound by the kind of rules designated by sales managers and trend forecasters. This is freedom in fashion; fearless and fucking fantastic.”

finally, though, there was an eternally calmed and more composed (and intelligent, of course) the vine to break things down for us: “Alice in Wonderland is a complicated reference, it was written in the Victorian era, animated in the early fifties, but only found popularity in the Leary days of the late 1960s. Each of these eras was referenced by Romance, in the form of full and flouncing New Look skirts (a great deal shorter than the original versions), elaborate Victorian sleeves from puffs to legs of mutton, and even the occasional Beull and Paddle, big sixties collars, kaftans and extreme x-shaped flares and a heavy, century-spanning dose of the substance assisted dream-state…It’s unlikely that many will wear most of the garments that were on show, but they will wear the t-shirts and tights that come out of them. Most of all, as always, but even more so, Romance Was Born are a reminder that we need more magic (or mushrooms) in our lives.”

(watch it in action here)

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