I took some time out at MBFWA to attend the Romance was Born & Rebecca Baumann exhibition Reflected Glory. You can too it's Free at Carriageworks until the 11th May, 2014.
For those of you who aren't aware Romance was Born is a relatively new Australian label run by designers Luke Sales and Anna Plunkett. They met at East Sydney Technical College and have carved a niche in the Australian fashion scene with their outlandish designs and theatrical catwalk shows. They began showing at Australian Fashion Week in 2008.
This year as well as presenting a runway collection during MBFWA (shown on Tuesday 8th April, 2014) Romance was born partnered with the Australian artist Rebecca Baumann to present a collection of wearable artworks in an installation space in Carriageworks. The disco ball outside the door to the space along with the Romance was Born neon sign and balloons at the beginning of the exhibition are a quiet indication of what is to come when you step inside.
The dresses were all created to represent different types of parties or celebrations. The Mardi Gra, a funeral, the house party, a new years eve celebration, a sweet 16 and a christening. The pair were inspired by Baumann’s works and painted light pieces. When the pair were approached by Carriageworks they decided to create pieces that were over the top, things they would not have necessarily been able to create for a ready-to-wear collection. It was only natural that they invited Baumann to help them create a light filled reflective space to extend the outfits they had in mind.
Luke and Anna photographed reflective surfaces in high light to create the printed fabrics that were the starting point for these reflective creations. These prints also formed the basis for their RTW items for their MBFWA show.
The gold outfits shown in photo 2 and 3 were directly inspired by Baumann's gold wall of streamers shown at First Draft gallery in Sydney. The Madonna t-shirt that Luke was wearing when he met Anna is now converted into a trailing dress and bedazzled with clear sequins that makes one of the first pieces you see as you walk into the installation. This installation is a literal translation of reflection - both Luke and Anna are reflecting on their past.
Baumann's reflective pieces reflect her exploration of the complex workings of human emotion and the pursuit of happiness through celebration and ritual. Baumann’s work often utilises colourful festive materials such as confetti, tinsel, smoke, balloons and streamers, which are momentarily, and sometimes violently, brought to life by various mechanisms including fans, ball-throwers, clocks and detonators. All her works are meticulously planned and executed - you could hear that each reflective light-filled corner she created for the Carriageworks space was well thought out and deliberate.
The Romance was Born pieces are suspended from the ceiling and rotate on disco ball motors and the central 4 outfits spin above a rotating mirrored round platform covered with my favourite Baunmann piece. When you are in the installation it's easy to get lost in the colour and noise coming from this spinning platform. All in all it is a pretty immersive experience.
Photos by Sophie Vigors.
Check out the exhibition yourself.
What do you think of the photos below? Will you go to see the collaboration yourself? Can you see any period references in the Romance was Born outfits below? Comment at the end of the post!