In a Georgian-style house tucked away in a quiet street in East Melbourne, Romance was Born have formed a theatrical alliance with the past. Invited by The Johnston Collection to re-imagine their antique collection, Luke Sales and Anna Plunkett have created a decadent wonderland full of strange delights.
Fairhall House is home to an impressive gathering of exquisite Georgian, Regency and oriental antiques bequeathed to Victoria in 1986 by antique collector William Johnston. The romance, opulence and excess of the collection is a fittingly gilded backdrop for Plunkett and Sales’ designs, which seem equally gratified hanging on glossy mannequins as they do hosting ‘Crafternoon tea’ in a hand-knitted Carmen Miranda-style fruit turban.
The design duo has departed from the visual theme of each room. Mining past collections for inspiration, they have created an exotic and witty mélange of reference points in that characteristically bold and vivid style their fans know and love.
Melbourne artist Kate Rohde has also come to the party – her lively sculptural works heighten the spectacle created by RWB’s drama. In the Green Drawing Room, for instance, Snakeguts, a shimmering emerald forest of a dress, keeps fine company with a pair of snowy white owls.
Wandering the rooms of Fairhall reveals a mythopoeic narrative. A lady swathed in lobster-red silk tulle navigates a tall ship through the crossroads of history; a Swarovski-encrusted bridal dress does a thematic waltz with The Never Ending Story; and heavy oak is offset by the gleaming reflections of a disco fever.
Guided tours of The Bride, The Ship & the Wardrobe continue until October 24.
Images courtesy of Ben Cordia Photography.