A decade ago, John Galliano offered Anna Plunkett and Luke Sales jobs, which the spirited designers were so bold as to turn down. Instead, they launched Romance was Born, creating enchantingly eccentric garb that Karen O, Cyndi Lauper, Debbie Harry, and M.I.A. have since worn onstage. The Sydney-based label is not for the faint of heart: Plunkett and Sales cite everyone and -thing from Captain Planet to Freddy Krueger, Australiana to the Garden of Eden, as inspiration. As such, designs comprise dresses appliquéd with pom-poms, singlets with sand-dollar breast patches, blazers emblazoned with silvery barbs, and one octopus beanie with no less than eight knitted tentacles. The designers often collaborate with local artists, but their biggest muse is a Staffordshire terrier, Monaro, who has a line of his own written in the stars. Four&Sons had a chat with Plunkett about shiny objects, spiritual trips, and puppy love.
2015 will mark the label's 10-year anniversary. What are some of your most memorable designs?
Anna Plunket: Wow, we can’t believe we have been working together for that long. At the moment we are putting the final touches on an exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria, so we have been feeling quite nostalgic. We really love the showpieces from our Summer 2009 collection “Doilies and Pearls, Oysters and Shells”. The Iced Vo Vo dress is quite iconic; the Powerhouse Museum purchased it for their collection. The Crochet Blanket dress that Cate Blanchett wore is also a favorite.
Where do you draw inspiration from?
Art is our biggest inspiration, but also music and emotions like nostalgia and love. We hope that people respond to our pieces on an emotional level, and not in a fashion-trend sense. We do a lot of research on historical fashion, but never use it as a direct influence. We usually juxtapose a lot of ideas and influences.
Would you ever create a print in Monaro's likeness?
Yes! We have talked about designing a whole range dedicated to him. He has the most amazing brindle coat, and his little face would be so cute on everything…