Photograph: Jessica Hromas

Afterpay Australian Fashion Week 2021: Romance Was Born Presents Entire Collection from Upcycled Treasure

After a year in hibernation and a world in lockdown, Sydney’s Carriageworks is playing host to the first international fashion week since Milan last year. And, while the line-up has plenty of our favourite designers – design duo Anna Plunkett and Luke Sales of Romance Was Born kicked off the first day of Afterpay Australian Fashion Week with a bang.

The Australian designer, known for its avant-garde creations and euphoric use of colour, truly delivered on its promise of fashion that’s animated, dynamic and colourful. Remarking and upcycling old treasures was at the heart of this collection. Over 18-months, the duo created Resort ’22 Collections – two collections, designed entirely from untouched stock – remanent fabrics and vintage finds, that had piled over 16 years in their design studio.

“I joke that Anna is a bit of a hoarder,’ says Sales. It’s … a sentimental way of holding on to something. So if we’ve ever used something in the past and there’s been a scrap of something beaded, Anna has always put it away … kept it stashed for the right time. During Covid we had the time. That was the right time.”

Fashion Designer, Luke Sales, Romance Was Born

The fashion duo said the pandemic gave them time to sift through old fabrics and come-up with a concept of using the vintage finds in a visionary and fun way. Plunkett even admits that her best friends old wedding dress was in the pile of old treasures, which ended up being a major part of the collection. This dress was shortened and had Swarovski love heart crystals added to it – that were sitting around for ages.

“We still bought things to make the collection,’ says Luke Sales. But it was things like 80s tops from eBay. Designing in this way, he says, you can work with the shape of what you have – there’s less need for patterns. You can decide there and then about proportions, drape and hemline … it’s actually kind of easy.”

Luke Sales, Romance Was Born

The most dramatic looks were inspired by the best of 80s glam and beauty illustrators like Peter Sato and Antonio Lopez. Everything was high shine and gloss – with colour, the pinnacle of the collection looks. Powder blue, pistachio green, apple red and candy pink were at the centre of the collections. Eyes were bold, blush placement was high, and traditional makeup rules were dismissed entirely.

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