Part of the Australian pride is the idea one of our own can make a big impression on the world stage. Made even sweeter is if that story comes from humble beginnings. Across the seas, Grace Coddington would wait three months for back issues of fashion magazines to arrive to her small-town island in Wales; Alexander McQueen, the son of a London cabbie. But when it comes to fashion in Australia, it’s a tough landscape for our home-growns. For starters, we’re geographically so far away from global markets, there’s hefty taxes attached to importing fabrics, the dollar goes up and down like seasonal hemlines, and make no mistake, this country has some of the most expensive retail leases in the world. But to survive the boom-and-bust cycle that plagues many Australian designers when they attempt to ascend to global go-to status, you have to be clever. And Romance Was Born have struck gold with their deft partnership with Etihad Airways.
On Wednesday evening, Romance guests were presented with a mock plane ticket and ushered along a dimly-lit reimagined air-bridge by Etihad flight attendants at Sydney’s Hubert Restaurant. The destination: Paris – with a brief stopover in Abu Dhabi, the flight path of the airline’s A380.
Drawing liberally from the art world, designers Luke Sales and Anna Plunkett presented their Resort 19 collection Opal Goddess; a dramatic collaboration with Australian artist and fashion icon Jenny Kee. Over dinner at the French bistro, guests learned of the brand’s plans to show its first collection during Couture Fashion Week in Paris in June. “We are really grateful to our partner, Etihad Airways, and we are really excited to celebrate with them tonight,” said Sales and Plunkett.
“We’ve found the Etihad Runway to Runway program has been a major link for the growth of our brand internationally, by helping us implement relationships with new partners all over the world as well as getting us to Paris to sell several times a year.”
“The comfort of the lounges and additional baggage with our big collections takes the stress out of travelling, and makes a big difference to our business. Being able to relax in Business Class on the long-haul flight helps us prepare for the market by catching up on sleep before the showroom starts and we hit the ground running.”
A beneficiary relationship as sleek and chic as the kiss curls on the runway models.