ROMANCE WAS BORN IS THE MOST EXCITING FASHION BRAND YOU'VE NEVER HEARD OF

Categories:Fashion

Models walk in the finale of Romance Was Born's Resort 2017 show. Photo: Getty ImagesModels walk in the finale of Romance Was Born's Resort 2017 show. 

When the fashion industry talks about centers for exciting new talent, it's all about the avant-garde designers of London or the young up-starts of New York City. Perhaps that's how Australian label Romance Was Born has been flying under the radar for 10 years now, quietly producing and showing some of the industry's most forward-thinking collections in Sydney, a pricey 20-plus hour flight away from any fashion capital. 

All that is about to change. After a solid few seasons selling through Moda Operandi, Romance Was Born has been approached by Saks Fifth Avenue to sell on the retailer's new contemporary floor. And thanks to local buzz, their resort 2017 presentation was the one everyone in Sydney said was a must-see. Inspired by Liberace and set in an incredible private home on the water, the high-flash of the sequin-and-feather filled collection had everyone buzzing, as did the plenty of nod-and-wink styles (like a smoking jacket with sequined cigarettes and a silk cocktail dress with a literal cocktail print).

It's been a long time coming. Designers Anna Plunkett and Luke Sales met the old fashioned way — at fashion school (Sydney Institute of Technology), where they found a shared aesthetic while collaborating on projects. They entered the ITS#Four competition, an early iteration of the International Talent Support, and were offered internships with John Galliano. Not yet ready for a move to Europe, Plunkett and Sales returned home to Australia and started Romance Was Born in 2005.

From there, the brand has always grown organically, focusing more on slow-and-steady pacing and connection building over flash-in-the-pan buzz. "We didn't have the infrastructure to grow and finance," Plunkett explains. "We're the owners of the business and we're really involved, so we don't just sit around drawing. There's running the business, and making sure everything gets done on time, so it's a bit challenging, but that's why we're hoping to grow and get more people working with us."

Ten years on, though, the timing is finally right to pursue international markets. There's the Saks deal, which will bring them stateside in the next month (New York buyers and editors, make your appointments now), and goals of showing in Paris one day. ("I think Paris is where people might understand us best," Plunkett says. "You think of America and it's really clean and minimal.")

"We have our people here, and we're really comfortable with how it works, and it's about finding those people [abroad]," Plunkett says. "We're almost starting again as well, because we've grown up with the brand, and now we're totally different and it's the next chapter. We're going to do some rebranding, because it's been 10 years. It's just a natural progression, things change and you have to move on."

Of course, that doesn't mean they'll be abandoning the Australian fashion industry, which has supported them from the start; fellow Aussie designer Toni Maticevski introduced the duo to Moda Operandi, and the newly formed Australian Fashion Chamber helped support the brand's first showrooms abroad. "It has opened the rest of the world up — it sounds fishy, but it's true," Plunkett says of the AFC. "We just didn't have the opportunity or the contacts. It's small as well, so you have to look after each other."

They've got the celebrity support in place already too, counting fashion cool girls like Daphne Guinness, Miley Cyrus and Grimes amongst their clientele. In another show of Aussie solidarity, Cate Blanchett wore a dress of theirs for an appearance at the Sydney Theatre Company. While they understand the importance of red carpet dressing ("I think that's the hugest honor, when someone you look up to gets what you do and wants to go there as well," Plunkett says), they're not interested unless it aligns with the message of the brand. 

"I think the idea of celebrities wearing our stuff is not cool unless you're into the person," Sales says. (Dream client Bjork will be in town soon, though, and Plunkett and Sales already know which dress they would put her in — a multicolored feather number from the resort runway.)

"[We're about] the idea of wonderment and beauty," Plunkett says. "We just try and create stories, create emotion. We've always said we want the customer to want it and wear it because they're emotionally connected to it, not just to be cool or be sexy, those things that magazines tell people to do."

Whatever the future holds for Romance Was Born, it's clear the brand has already made its mark at home. "From the beginning we've been collected by art institutions in Australia, and I think that's really, really exciting," Plunkett says. "That's how we've discovered things, and to think we might be the next generation of creative force — that's pretty cool."

We're betting the rest of the world will catch up soon. See Romance Was Born's full Resort 2017 collection below.

Tags: Clutch Alexander McQueen Flower Silk Knucklebox

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Hermès Silk Twilly: Price Index 2015

Categories:Other Brands

hermes_ss15-silk-twillyWhile I hate to be the bearer of bad news, the inevitable has happened, which is also why you’re now reading this post. Quite possibly the first luxury brand to have raised prices across the board, Hermès (at least in Singapore) is now slightly pricier than it was last year and depending on what you’re eyeing, increments are anywhere fromSGD10 to thousands of dollars.

Take the Silk Twilly, for example. When I first started blogging, it cost SGD180 a piece, last year it was SGD260 and now, it’s SGD270. Yes, that beautifully printed piece of silk favoured by Hermès aficionado around the world as THE accompaniment to their bags, is now 10 dollars more.

Just for fun, I pulled prices from the Silk Twilly around the world, and while this has been done before, I thought it would be a great tool for those travelling soon and looking to buy themselves a couple more.

So how much does it cost in other parts of the world? In Europe, it’s around SGD203(EUR135), in the UK, it costs SGD252 or so or UK125. Over in America a Silk Twillywill set you back by SGD228 (US170), while down under in Australia it’s more expensive at SGD276 (AUD260). Just for fun, I checked on Japan (it will cost youSGD245 or JPY21,600) while in Canada (surprise, surprise) it will only set you back by around SGD183 or so (CAD170).

In other words, a Silk Twilly is cheapest in Canada, followed by Europe, the US, the UK, Japan, Singapore, and finally, Australia. Guess where I’ll be heading to for a holiday really soon.

Tags: Hermes Silk

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