Crystal Insects by Will Kay

Posted on December 21, 2010


So six months ago was Australian Fashion Week (slow I know) where this wonderful creation, below, from the Australian label Romance Was Born was presented. Romance Was Born, designed by Luke Sales and Anna Plunkett, who are known for their fantastic sense of fun and fashion whimsy. Hitting the pop-cultural nail on its scattered head: their collection focused on monsters of all kinds. Their imagination throughout the collection was thick, however the look below was the one that caught my eye.

Rachel Rutt backstage wearing a look from the Romance Was Born 2010 Spring collection. Photo: Rene Vaile.

I suppose what caught my eye was the amorphous bustle-like attachments to the dress. They give the look contradictory feeling of both: the past and the future. The past where comically large, fake child-baring hips were the supposed fancy of noblemen, and the sci-fi future of crystalline flank jet-packs. To me the bustles seem to signify a play on the maligned figure of women these days, in that the bustles are adding a feminine sexuality that is so often missing these days.  Perhaps it is time that women forget about looking man-like and start looking like super-womanly baby-bazookas. Another thought that this look sparked was that this world looks towards the future in a curious way. In that the look brings with it a mystifying sense of what-the-fuck that is both wonderful and “dehumanising”. But people, in general, like to look like people. Excepting the likes of Pete Burns, Jocelyn Wildenstein and Amanda Lepore, who we love for rejecting humanity like the rebuked bitches we are. What makes this look is that: fashion isn’t for people, it is for souls. This look has soul.

Rachel Rutt backstage wearing a look from the Romance Was Born 2010 Spring collection. Photo: Rene Vaile.

When I noticed the insect-like antennae and the crystal wings, I decided that she wasn’t meant to be human at all. Despite the rather misty blues, pinks and purples, this is an exoskeleton; an armour. This look is about strength, support and defensiveness. The wings running down the spine and the child-bearing hip protecting bustles signify a protective casing that guards and enables the wearer the power to do whatever they please; armoured like a stegosaurus, hard like gemstones and with horns to match.

I decided that she was an insect, or at least some sort of human-crystal-this hybrid life-form. This spliced-gene-monster provides a wonderful combination that is imbued with strength, humour and intelligence. Both insects and crystal are hard, colorful, often translucent and shiny, however insects are dirty and low while crystals are pristine and high. This strong connection in the physical is not the same in the abstract. Is this difference because of the variation in physical manifestation or the fact that insects are animate and uncontrollable?

It reminds me of the Thierry Mugler’s Chimaera dress. Though perhaps not as beautifully realised, the wonderful imagination and feel for paradoxical fashion is very much present. Go to 2:15.

Wonderful Monsters!

Posted in: Fashion