Romance Was Born, my absolute favorite Australian designers have a small exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria which is totally free and for kids and big kids such as myself. I think the ‘For Kids’ tagline largely arose because designers Anna Plunkett and Luke Sales have been creating whimsical clothing since 2005 and are among the most celebrated creatives in the country. But mainly because their designs will appeal to the imagination of young children and there are fun activities such as drawing on iPads, making a DIY necklace and simply breathing in all the colour and crazy designs. I have tried to document the experience of walking through the exhibit as precisely and accurately as possible, but really if you are in Melbourne during the next month or so you should definitely check it out for yourself.
The exhibit was partitioned into four different rooms; one rainbow themed, one focused on the Australian identity, one room for arts and crafts and the last aptly dubbed ‘The Tomb Room’ following a narrative about an ancient Egyptian queen. What really opened my eyes walking around the exhibit is I never realized that Luke and Anna were from regional Australia. It had simply never occurred to me that two people with such a strong sense of identity were from rural areas and could thrive in the fashion industry. Another eye opener was the level of detail of the Bush Magic dress, complete with Banksia men and bush babies following the works of Australian illustrator May Gibbs. If you’re not familiar with The Tales of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie I don’t blame you but I cannot stress how iconic these Australian fairy tales to young children.
It was a perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon and nothing could make me happier than to watch runway footage from their previous collections as well as adorable video clips of both Anna and Luke. Their friendship and shared vision for Romance Was Born is really what drives the brand and I know they’ll continue to create amazing, costume-like designs. I have many pieces from them already but I think my ultimate goal in life is just to commission Romance Was Born to make fantastic hats and headgear such as the crochet octopus bonnet in the tomb room or the beaded gum nut headdress. When I first started blogging in 2009 all I ever dreamed about was finding that octopus hat on eBay and winning the auction- as a naive teenager it had never occurred to me that they were a one-off special piece but seeing it in real life was enough satisfaction, for now.
Although the Australian themed room was possibly my favorite, I couldn’t resist feverishly photographing the gorgeous wigs used in the photo shoot for their Pip and Pop collection. The odd bowl cut shapes combined with sprigs of flowers and alien antennae make me want to colour my hair again if only it wasn’t so damn expensive. Oh well, a girl can dream can’t she? I think having my hair look a little dull forces me to make more creative decisions when it comes to getting dressed and hopefully you’ll see that reflected in my outfits over the next couple of months. The frilly shoes and curly toed boots were also another nice touch to the weirdness of the Tomb Room which was slightly darker and just a little bit too creepy for very young patrons. I loved soaking in every minute of it and can’t wait to make some collages or small DIYs as well.