Romance Was Born Wins Top Aussie Fashion Design Award

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(Photos: Romance Was Born)

Keep your eye on Romance Was Born. The Australian fashion label launched in 2005 by Anna Plunkett and Luke Sales first caught our eye with glow-in-the-dark costumes for the band Architecture in Helsinki (a staple on the UnBeige jukebox), and now the designing duo has won the 2009 L’Oreal Melbourne Fashion Festival Designer Award presented by Woolmark and supported by Vogue Australia. Romance Was Born bested finalists Ant!podium, Gary Bigeni, Ellery, Konstantina Mittas, and Therese Rawsthorne to win the award, which is akin to the stateside CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund prize and includes $10,000 in cash (approximately $7,000 in U.S. dollars) as well as a trip to either the Pitti Filati fashion fair in Florence or the Premiere Vision trade event in Paris. Plunkett and Sales received the award at a ceremony last month in Melbourne.

At once lavish and cheeky, streetwise and avant-garde, slick and hand-detailed, Romance Was Born garments are produced entirely in Australia. Plunkett and Sales, who famously turned down internships with John Galliano to start their own label, are fueled by “a love of kitsch Australiana, crafty construction, and fine tailoring” that has translated to such memorable creations as a tiered patchwork dress limned in pom poms, their most recent “Yeti Magic” line-up of otherworldly wool looks, and a red tulle and lace halter top awash in Muppets-inspred googly eyes (and worn by Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs). They describe their “irreverent and fun loving” collections as brimming with “playful outfits where sparkle, texture, and bold prints jostle together in a harmonious jamboree of style.”