Electro Orchid – she’s a beautiful bloom, a wild child, a razzle-dazzle daughter born of modern energy and ancient allure. She sensual, she’s mysterious, she’s subtle and fragile but she’s fierce, too: Electro Orchid is bold as well as beautiful.
She’s an icon for our times.
For the 2018 Resort collection, Romance Was Born partners once again with renowned Sydney-based artist and filmmaker Del Kathryn Barton, in a pulsing scintillating collection destined for special occasions. Barton has gifted the title for the collection, and names for many garments; some are inspired by the gorgeous clothes worn by the women in her paintings; and her signature polka dots, ribbons and bows dance and wind through the collection.
All this has been whirled into being in joyous festive day-wear, dazzling party dresses, even a wedding gown embroidered with a heart: here Romance Was Born conjures the orchid’s celebrated sexual power to wrap us in delight, in delicate sensual soft lace and net. There’s an electro-beat in these clothes, too, and more than a hint of raw pulsing 1980s disco. (Can you feel the bass thrumming? Can you feel the love?) Eclectic (electric) fabric combinations mix up the different notes of life: energy, desire, action. Disco lust, a fabulous slither of sequins and lace, takes you straight to the dance-floor. Fringing picks up the beat in many garments, sets it moving purposefully right through the collection, and extraordinary hybrid fabrics syncopate sonorous deep blacks with holographic highlights. Tree of life, with black polka-dot lace, rainbow colours, Swarovski crystals and a wide-eyed amorous serpent, embodies living colour emerging out of dark night.
As ever, Romance Was Born explores new fabrics in rainbow combinations: metallic pleating in a spectrum of nine colours; for the ‘Sequin Protagonist’ series, there’s an exquisite digitally printed sequinned fabric whose scales move under your caress, only to suddenly hide their glory with the next touch; lovely jerseys printed with Del Kathryn Barton’s passionate pure women. In the midst of this riotous colour, Electro Orchid makes statements in purest white, garnered from Barton’s work. Look for mottos and proclamations written in pearls on white denim jackets, on gloves, and on sashes that might be awarded to the victorious, or worn as belts. Or both. Are these words slogans? Are they calls to action? Some, like ‘shesh...is the right thing’, are affirmations.
(It’s personal, as well as political.)
With Electro Orchid everything is interconnected. Ribbons and large soft bows speak of soft bondage with a light touch, of lingerie so delicate it’s like living skin. The ribbons might also be vines, tentacles and veins, sisters of the trailing plants we see printed on mauve silk chiffon, and these swathes of tender fabric wrap strong women in fragility, like the petals of a flower. And through it all rainbows and rainbow colours arc across the universe, binding us together with joy. For Romance Was Born and Del Kathryn Barton, the vast cosmos is a wondrous open eld, a playground of possibilities: the brilliant colours and complex patterns of Cosmic crime and Cosmic caftan speak to this shared sense of boundless horizons.
Which they offer to us. For Romance Was Born, the essence of dressing is that clothes transform you, take you somewhere. Out into the world, into the great wide wonderful universe.