AAFW: Romance Was Born Depicts Surrealist Beauty On The Runway

Contemporary Australian fashion house Romance Was Born has impressed with its super surreal 2022 resort collection, fusing unique storytelling concepts with design prowess.

Credit: Ticketek

Romance Was Born was one of the most talked-about shows of Afterpay Australian Fashion Week’s Calendar, but this year it really did hit fever pitch. This Australian design house is renowned for its avant-garde creations and joyous use of colour and the Resort 2022 collection displays no shortcomings, full of spirit and delicate finishings.

“With Peter Simon Phillips styling, and old and new faces in the mix – Ollie Henderson, Jess PW, Olympia Kristou, Koujayn, Mana Mackay, and Varsha Kumar – The energy backstage was both a return to what Romance Was Born is so known and beloved for, and an ushering of a new guard. Once on the runway, models floated, clad in sequins and stitched together lace doilies, injecting romance back into the hearts of the guests. Welcome back RWB.”

Source: RUSSH


Luke Sales, of Romance Was Born, tells RUSSH that the collection is crafted entirely out of repurposed fabrics. These included heirlooms collected from family, old bed sheets, scraps of fashion from the studio, antique tablecloths and polyester curtains.

Credit: RUSSH

It is a blend of old and new, with memorabilia pastiched into vaguely bridal wear. The only purchased material was that of discarded Indian roses, spun into silk. For Luke Sales, the repurposing was intentional.

“There is so much fabric already in the world” he says, “it only made sense to use what we have.”

Source: RUSSH

The embroidery is an effort between the Romance Was Born team and a family business in India, which formed intricate images of parrots, florals and delicate love poems. These are forged in collaboration with Studio A, a supported studio which is based in Sydney. Studio A is concerned with challenging the barriers which artists living with intellectual disabilities face.

Experimental Beauty

Credit: RUSSH

The beauty concept was designed by Nicole Thompson using MECCA MAX. The look was experimental and edgy. The overall result was a stunning display of artistry, featuring hints of press-on glitter, crystals, warm metallics and holographic pieces which saw the skin gleaming under the lighting. Thempson explains to Grazia,

“All 38 looks were individually designed using MECCA MAX to enhance our models’ beauty and inner joyous spirit. Artistry varied from pressed on glitter, crystals and holographic pieces making the skin beam and twinkle under the lights, to soft washes of sorbet tones in lemon yellow, pistachio, lavender, pinks and baby blue.”

Credit: RUSSH

“The most dramatic looks were inspired by the best of 80s glam and beauty illustrators like Peter Sato and Antonio Lopez. What was a dream for a makeup artist to apply was a dream to see dancing down the catwalk, each character shining brightly. Couture dresses? This is couture beauty.”

Source: Grazia

Credit: RUSSH

The Star of the Show

Host of the Podcast Radical Fashionism, Christian Wilkins, was the star of the show. Dressed in a whimsical cotton-lace dress in white, the 26-year old captivated audiences as he effortlessly walked the AAFW runway with a lace train in tow. Wilkins looked porcelain-perfect with a metallic violet eye and cheek which added a contrasting futuristic element.

Credit: Daily Mail

Christian Wilkins, the son of entertainment reporter Richard Wilkins, posed for several whilst getting ready for his runway walk. His face was pulled tight using ‘face-lift tape’ which is used to pull the face tighter and give a more youthful appearance.

Disaronno Pays it Forward

Credit: Daily Mail

Disaronno is the official liquor partner of Afterpay Australian Fashion Week 2021. This collaboration highlights ethical fashion, with Romance Was Born’s shows focusing on upcyling and the reuse of fabrics. Disarrono aims to do the same via consumer competition and their exclusive influencer party. A pre-show Disarrono party invited guests to bring garments in tow which would be otherwise destined for landfill for RWB’s Luka Sales and Anna Plunkett to upcycle. The garments are being donated to Dress fr Success, a company which is dedicated to helping women to achieve economic independence by proving a network of support and professional attire. The pairing also offered Australians a chance to win a Romance Was Born wardrobe, in addition to a number of other prizes.

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