Like many of the best ideas in fashion, it started as a bit of a LOL. Romance Was Born designers Anna Plunkett and Luke Sales were introduced to a French ros with an angelic label on the bottle, reading Whispering Angel. And with that, theyd found the name of their next collection. Unlike the dry ros, however, their Resort 17 offering goes way beyond sweet packaging, revealing something much more dreamy.

The Antipodean designers have always celebrated excess, but their Resort 17 collection, which is, in their words, an ode to Liberace—complete with references to celebrity showmanship, disco, the Rococo period, and the afterlife—could be their most excessively them move to date.

Between 70s lines, 80s accoutrements, and 90s Fiorelli-esque motifs, it hits all the right trend notes. But it does so amongst an assortment of graphic prints and embellishments so wildly romantic (in the most camp sense of the word) that the result is a heavenly mixture of crazy fit for the iconic, post- Elvis legends of music—may they rest in peace. Liberace said it best: Too much of a good thing is wonderful.




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From onstage personas to estate interiors, both the public and the private aspects of the celebrity are honored in the collection. The pair was, after all, inspired as much by Liberaces outer world as they were by the man himself. His mother. His sister. The disco angels he surrounded himself with. Theyre the embodiment of the essence of Whispering Angel. Plunkett and Sales would listen to 1985s There Must Be An Angel by The Eurythmics while they worked on the collection, likely daydreaming of rhinestone-encrusted, celestial muses layered in exotic bird feathers and leaning on a grand piano, cradling a cocktail.


That was certainly the vision that the pair seemed to present at the runway debut of the collection. The girls were modern-day Botticelli babes. Disco angels, defiantly fabulous and wealthy, said Plunkett. And it showed. Floating through a Sydney mansion, the shows models wore big, passionate curls with glittering pastel eye shadow.



The styling thing is something that we really get into and drives us creatively, Plunkett said, alluding to what many already know: that Romance Was Born has put on some of the most spectacular runway shows of all time. The soundtrack for this show consisted of a series of covers: Anohnis version of Beyoncs Crazy in Love, Bat For Lashes covering Springsteens Im on Fire, and most movingly, Grimes cover of Ave Maria, of which Plunkett said, We heard her sing this live last time she performed in Sydney and it seriously made everyone stop. A very angelic moment. Yes it was.









Each season, the design duo works with new graphic talent to realize their often-lofty print dreams. Of the collaborative process that went into this collection, Plunkett said, We worked with Liv and Maya from Ultra Violet who are The Royal College of the Arts alumni. They really understood the whole decorative vibe and were interested in incorporating a lot of textural references of the Rocco era.

What resulted was a collection defined by four distinct parts: Exotic Bird, Rococo Cupid, King Neptune, and Mr. Showmanship. Its a medley of color thats as Liberace as it is part-Anna Piaggi, part-Bowie, and all wildly imaginative.

A suitable tribute to the eternal icons of excessive fashion—long may their legacy reign.






All images taken exclusively for Milk by Byron Spencer .

Photo Assistants: Hayley Brown and Brigette Clark

Styling: Peter Simon Phillips at Company1

Styling Assistant: Ryan Cullen

Hair: Pete Lennon at Company1, using R+Co (with thanks to Cain Ireland)

Makeup: Nicole Thompson at UNION MANAGEMENT

Makeup Assistant: Monique Jones

Models: Evelina Milward (Priscillas), Mary (Chadwicks), Niina (IMG).

Stay tuned to Milk for more of our favorite Australian creatives.