Who: Kate Rohde & Romance Was Born
What: Renaissance dinosaur
Where: Karen Woodbury Gallery, 4 Albert St, Richmond 3121
When: Until 18 September 2010

I was REALLY looking forward to renaissance dinosaur. When I heard fashion designers Romance Was Born (Anna Plunkett and Luke Sales) were collaborating with Kate Rohde I knew I had to see the results.

Romance Was Born caught my attention a few years ago when I was working at Mercedes Australian Fashion Week. Their eccentricity and humor set them apart from the fashion pack, as did the sheer vibrancy of their collections. They manage to make the most outrageous things look great. If I had to choose one label to wear every single day (and I didn’t need to look conservative for work, or to prove my sanity) Romance Was Born would be it. You’d never get bored! Their work is very conceptual, so the idea of viewing it in a contemporary art sense didn’t seem strange at all.

The duo commissioned Kate Rohde to make pieces to inspire and include in their collection at this year’s Rosemount Australian Fashion Week. Kate’s work is also incredibly imaginative. Like Romance Was Born, she is inventive in her use of materials, has a similar craft aesthetic, and clearly shares their love of psychedelic colours. A match made in heaven on acid!

My assumptions about the exhibition were confirmed as soon as I walked into the Karen Woodbury Gallery. The girl sitting at the front of the gallery gave me a knowing smile. I could tell she was thinking, “you’re going die from loving this”.

In the centre of the space was a triceratops, pterodactyl, t-rex and archaeopteryx, presented like they were in a museum. Only these dinosaurs were nothing like anything you’d see in a museum, or in your wildest dreams. Each was displayed on an opulent, baroque style, gold table. The detailing was obviously hand-crafted; the imperfections adding to its charm.

Kate used fluro furs, plastic flowers, fake hair reminiscent of ‘my little pony’, resin, glitter, feathers and more in the creation of these sinister, yet uplifting, replicas.

All set off by the most insane wall-paper I’ve ever seen.

Hanging on a white wall was a body-suit created by Romance was Born as a tribute to Kate’s work. The long pieces of fake hair dangling from the body appropriated from Kate’s last exhibition; Crystalised.

I would have killed to see this on the runway!

Crystals were an element which Kate brought into this work as well. Made from resin they were included in some of the amazing deer antler headpieces and in clusters as breastplates.

Transparent plastic crystals were also a sculptural element on the floor.

This was an incredibly cohesive exhibition where neither the aesthetic of Romance was Born or Kate Rohde was lost. That’s pretty amazing really, but not surprising as these guys all have so much vision and must truly respect each other’s work. You can see the passion and tell they’ve had so much fun creating this Jurassic fantasy world. Fashion and art met seamlessly. Needless to say I was in awe. Inspired, and left speechless.

Have you seen this exhibition? Tell us what you think!

6 thoughts on “Kate Rohde + Romance Was Born = T-rexcellent

  1. I always felt as a kid totally obsessed with dinosaurs that they didn’t necessarily look as ugly as we represent them. They might have been covered in wildly flamboyant feathers and colours. Doesn’t really make them very scary though!

  2. Hi there! Thanks for your comment! I totally agree. Maybe dinosaurs are not meant to be as scary as how we imagine them to be, though. I’d like to think they were super cuddly creatures… like massive soft toys roaming the earth in their fluorescent coloured coats ;)

  3. Georgina I expect you’re onto something. Velociraptors (the scary smart ones from Jurassic park) are apparently just the size of turkeys and all feathery.. adorable!
    Love the use of dinosaurs and they seem to fit perfectly through tinkering with possibility; as of course it is likely they will always remain a little bit unknown… is this the perfect platform for creativity?

  4. I have never really thought that much about the mystery of dinosaurs and how we perceive them. Great comments. You guys are really making me think!
    Hollywood and Jurassic Park may have made people more scared of them that we would need to be if they were around today. The dinosaurs in the exhibition did have something a little bit sinister about them though. Lucky the T-rex would have only come up to my knees or I might have been a bit scared myself!

  5. If that T-Rex ever did anything naughty, all we had to do was pick it up and shake him. Haha.

    As much as science may come across as very factual, it is still based on a lot of assumptions and the piecing together of a bunch of individually proven (are they really?) theories here and there… you can never REALLY know, I guess. So yep, that means creative freedom!

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