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May 20, 2011

For this installment of “On The Horizon”, we highlight yet another Australian notable talent: Romance was Born.

After scrolling through shows from Australian Fashion Week, we were excited to find a wide array of design aesthetics from such a relatively young fashion capital. Sydney’s fashion scene parallels to NYC fashion with a focus on chic functional clothing as well as “of the moment” high street fashion.  In the mix there are also designers who are a bit more experimental reminding us of the London Fashion scene.

Romance was Born makes its mark by showcasing thematic presentations packed with well made fashion. Design partners Anna Plunkett and Luke Sales set out to produce a collection filled with drama and emotion full of colors and details that tell their story of the moment. It is not surprising that this label (started in 2005) has already garnered much attention by its peers as well as some major celebrity love, most notably with Australian movie star Cate Blanchett who recently wore the label exclusively for the May issue of Australian Harper’s Bazaar.

Cate Blanchett Australian Harper's Bazaar May 2011 Cover

The Australian actress’ fondness of the label should not come as a surprise as her style also signifies the sort of quirk and risk you’ll find in Romance was Born. Back in 2009, the actress wore the label’s multicolored crochet knitted one shoulder blanket dress to a premiere shocking most of the fashion critics for her choice in evening wear. Cut to the Fall 2011 collections, and we saw crochet everywhere from London’s experimental leader Christopher Kane and NYC’s darlings Proenza Schouler. Cate always takes risks with her fashion choices (as do I)  and I recently found a similar aesthetic in an  amazing crochet cardigan picked up in one of my vintage scavenger hunts.

Cate Blanchett in Romance was Born in 2009 (L); Our Editor Margaret Sche's personal Vintage version (R)

This is the kind of work that Romance was Born is capable of, and in their new Spring 2011/2012 collection they once again showcased that talent. The collection was marked with their signature use of texture in the choice of material and it was refreshing to see bold colors with an ethnic influence.

Though theatricality is their mainstay, many elements within this collection would translate well to commercially appropriate pieces.  It is this aspect of the business that eventually keeps and grows small fashion labels such as this one. In their Spring collection, the printed chiffon would look great as a button-down or as harem pants while the bead work will translate well to evening choices. The coats, especially this sleeveless camel top coat, would do very well on any sales floor.

The label, original in its own right, bares a resemblance to Jean Paul Gaultier or even the much younger London label Meadham Kirchhoff. Both brands are successful in their ability to strip away all the theatrics of its runway creations and deliver that same sort of drama and quirk to its audience in realistic fashion. So moving forward, we expect Romance was Born to be able to do the same and really emerge as the head-turner of Australian fashion.

Check out the rest of the notable looks from Romance was Born’s Spring/Summer 2011/12 runway show.

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