Romance Was Born unofficially kicked off Australian Fashion Week yesterday with yet another trademark theatrical extravaganza. This time around though, duo Anna Plunkett and Luke Sales skipped the costly staging – in fact, they almost did not show at all this season - and used the magnificent three storey, glass-domed reading room of Sydney’s Mitchell Library as a backdrop, leaving the fabulous styling and clothes of their Spring/Summer 2011/2012 collection, entitled The Oracle, to do all the talking. Styling was courtesy Mark Vassallo, with MAC and GHD doing a superb job interpreting the duo’s theme - Wolfgang Petersen’s 1984 fantasy film, The NeverEnding Story and its much-loved characters and creatures who inhabit the land of Fantasia, fighting The Nothing – in elaborate hair and makeup. Rachel Rutt channelled the Childlike Empress in a sumptuous, tiered shaggy coat that was a little reminiscent of a Maori Korowai feather cloak, while another model sported a massive Rock Biter breastplate (see photo gallery, below). Scattered in amongst the Swarovski crystal- and pearl-encrusted unitards, feathered ballgowns and gargantuan puffa jackets, there were plenty of more commercial pieces: dazzling printed Lycra leggings and unitards; graceful, ankle-grazing georgette skirts and blouses in scarf-like digital prints; embellished jeans and some very pretty evening dresses with ribbon skirts.
But it’s the over-the-top showpieces which make the brand’s presentations so memorable – and have attracted the interest of clients such as Cate Blanchett, who provided The Sydney Theatre Company as a venue for RWB’s 2009 RAFW show, has commissioned costumes for the upcoming STC production of Edward Gant's Amazing Feats of Loneliness – and who sat front row last night.
Plunkett and Sales have carved a career fighting The Nothing of fashion blandness. Long may they do what they dream.