Fashion mavericks Anna Plunkett and Luke Sales, the design duo behind innovative Australian fashion label Romance Was Born, have taken out the coveted 2009 L’Oreal Melbourne Fashion Festival Designer Award presented by Woolmark and supported by Vogue.
Romance Was Born beat stiff competition from 2009 finalists Ant!podium, Gary Bigeni, Ellery, Konstantina Mittas and Therese Rawsthorne to win the award.
The entirely Australian-made label impressed award judges with its fashion forward Autumn/Winter 2009 ‘Yeti Magic’ collection featuring the crafty pair’s lavish aesthetic, high quality manufacture and innovative use of Australian Merino wool.
Brenda McGahan, CEO of Australian Wool Innovation (AWI), which owns the Woolmark brand, presented the award to Romance Was Born at a special event at Melbourne’s Docklands before a gathering of 350 guests including woolgrowers from Victoria and Tasmania, Victorian MPs Martin Pakula and Lynne Kosky, fashion designers Akira Isogawa and Yeojin Bae, Country Road’s Sophie Holt and British Vogue’s Pippa Holt.
McGahan said: ‘The Woolmark brand has a long history of supporting fashion creativity and emerging designer talent; Romance Was Born’s spectacular win continues the proud tradition of Australian wool and innovative fashion design.’
In addition to the coveted industry title, Romance Was Born receives a $10,000 cash prize plus an AWI-hosted trip to either the Pitti Filati fashion fair in Florence or the Premiere Vision trade event in Paris with money-can’t-buy introductions to AWI’s global supply chain network of spinners, knitters and mills.
One of the Australian fashion industry’s most prestigious citations, the L’Oreal Melbourne Fashion Festival Designer Award presented by Woolmark and supported by Vogue is acknowledged for giving emerging Australian designers a significant career leg up.
Last year’s winner Ben Pollitt of label Friedrich Gray has said of his win: ‘It has given me the support and recognition of the media, buyers and the fashion industry which has provided significant growth opportunities for Friedrich Gray.’