Thursday, April 18, 2024

Anna Plunkett


Australia's provoking new designers.

Anna Plunkett and Luke Sales are the duo behind Australia's innovative and contemporary fashion house, Romance Was Born.

Anna Plunkett and Luke Sales are the amazingly talented duo behind the innovative and contemporary fashion house, Romance Was Born. Based in Australia, they are known for fusing together unique stories through their vision and design expertise. Established in 2005, Romance Was Born uses their talents to "transform any theme or inspiration into a glimmering chimerical fashion paradise full of wonderment". Their collections feature fascinating prints, handcrafted appliqués and embroideries, and very detailed beading and sequin elements. Due to their talent and vision, Romance Was Born's creations are held in fashion and textile collections at the Powerhouse Museum and The National Gallery of Victoria.

After starting Romance Was Born, they both wanted to create more than just beautiful garments. "They wanted to create immersive cultural experiences that provoke an emotional response".

Anna and Luke believe that there is an inspiring relationship between the fashion and art world so, collaboration is a key part of their design process. "They choose to collaborate with artists and brands that share their creative passion and are dedicated to their own process". Some of these collaborations include artists and brands such as Disney, Marvel, Lego, May Gibbs, Linda Jackson, Jenny Kee, the Sydney Theatre Company and the National Gallery of Victoria.

When it comes to their runways shows, they are an event, as they are both extravagant and theatrical making sure that their entire vision is represented. They have attracted the attention from artists who boldly express their individuality, those that famously wear their collections include style mavericks Cate Blanchett, Tavi Gevinson, Nicki Minaj, Karen O, MIA, Natasha Khan, Cyndi Lauper, Lily Allen, Grimes, and Miley Cyrus.

I was intrigued that each of their collections "explores vast themes of fantasy steeped in vibrant energy" and that every collection left me not only in awe but speechless. After feeling this way, I knew I had to reach out to the designers for an interview and I was elated when Anna said she would sit down and answer ten questions regarding Romance Was Born.

Pre-Fall Collection 2019


Romance Was Born has a large selection of her work for sale online including tops, pants, dresses, and more from multiple collections starting at $230.

Anna Plunkett In Conversation

An in-depth interview conducted at her studio in Sydney.

What sparked your interest in pursuing fashion?

I have always loved fabrics and making things from a small age… and I had an aunty who was quite fashionable and I remember observing her style… I think just making things all the time was a natural progression into fashion.

I know both you and Luke turned down internships with John Galliano. Was this a hard decision to make? Or was this the moment where you both looked at each other and said if we don't launch Romance Was Born now it's never going to happen?

We didn’t even think about it. We hadn't been overseas before and didn’t have the money to stay in France. It just didn’t seem viable for us at the time.

Where do you and Luke find inspiration? And how does this affect your creative process?

We draw inspiration from everywhere but, we love art and I think that has always been our biggest inspiration. We look at a lot of vintage fabrics and women from the golden days. That's what we love most about fashion is the nostalgia and beauty of it.

Pre-Fall Collection 2019

Does your brand reflect your style?

I wouldn’t say it does day to day. But definitely, there are times, especially if I am going somewhere I always wear Romance.

Is there a certain kind of woman who wears your brand? And how do you want women to feel when wearing your creations?

We have identified our main customer to be a lot older then we imagined. We hope that women have an emotional response when wearing our pieces as we want them to feel uplifted and spirited.

If you could change one aspect in the world of fashion, what would it be?

Fast fashion majors… we can all try to do our bit to be more sustainable but we are just a drop in the ocean in comparison. The big companies need to step up and change.

I love that you showed off schedule in June 2018 during Paris Couture Week. How did this come about?

It had always been a long term goal for us to show in Paris with a very slow burn to get there and make it happen. We were very lucky enough to have some great partners and collaborators working with us to help bring it to fruition.

Follow Romance Was Born on Instagram

Your Pre-Fall Collection is stunning and one of the first collections that is wholesale ready. Are you excited about the possibilities of bigger growth in the US? Because honestly, and this is just my opinion but, women in the US are going to eat your brand up, they will love it if they don't already.

Oh that is so lovely. I feel that we have been wanting to break into the US market for so long, it's a big goal for us. I think what the public sees of our collections and what goes into stores is very different. We do have commercial pieces but, I think our more high-end styles tend to get more attention.

How would you describe your brand in five words?

Fun, Abstract, Drama, Creative, and Elegant. And my client is crazy but she is classy.

What does the word CHIC mean to you?

Chic means a lot of things. Chic doesn’t mean just what you wear it’s a aura. You’ll meet men and women and they are just chic. They can be wearing jeans and a gross jumper but the aura that they have is really chic. It could be the way the sit or the way they eat, it’s not just an outer thing. I don’t think you need to be confident to be chic I think there is a softness to chicness it doesn’t have to be so aggressive. That’s Chic for me.

Delving Deep Into Romance Was Born's Pre-Fall 2019 Collection

The Pre-Fall 2019 Collection was the first to be designed to sell wholesale rather than purchased as art pieces by museums and collectors. In this elegant and fluid collection you will find wild paisley incorporating kookaburra feather trim, a patterned fabric of Sydney Harbour Bridge, dresses made of ribbed silky viscose featuring puckers of piped ruffle that furls across the neckline and body, crystal-meshed skirts and evening dresses featuring hand-painted pansy embroideries, and draped black chiffon dresses decorated with watercolor butterflies. Volume was a central component as each of the garments varied dramatically between a voluminous Dior-era silk gown and a body-hugging floral lace and paisley beaded dress. The collection is not subtle due to the intense color palette, the innovative use of volumes and shapes, and the detail of the embroideries. Romance Was Born is a type of couture that captures you once you have seen their designs and all the detail that goes into each piece. It is a collection that leaves you wondering what this talented duo will do next.

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