Mushroom Magic: Romance Was Born

There is no doubt in the sentiment that Anna Plunkett and Luke Sales are artists first, and designers second.










There is no doubt that Anna Plunkett and Luke Sales are artists first, and designers second. For this unstoppable pair, it is always about the bigger picture and broader creative concepts from the beginning – never at the eleventh hour, scrambling for a press-pandering or trend-driven production brief. Their meticulous execution of the overarching story grows into an obsessive passion over the course of the design process, which, season after season, comes to fruition in its runway spectacle. There was no Adele or Flume biting the models’ creature heels – this time the triple threat tones of a single standing magical mushroom musician.

I remember being nothing short of incredulous at my first Romance Was Born show, trying to comprehend the exceptionally switched-on heads and hands that had come together to create a performance rather than a show, as such. When I heard a few days prior that Val Garland was to be doing the makeup direction, and Alan White, the hair, I all but flew into a joyous conniption. For this star-crossed team, there were no limits. Every look would be different – like Galliano’s hey day, or Vivienne Westwood. The collection would be transformed, through its technical brilliance, into some otherworldly marvel. I was freaking excited.

And, of course, my expectations were far exceeded. There came a point during the show when I managed to stop myself from snapping photos, and actually examine every look in the context of Pip and Pop‘s grand mushroom wonderland down to Nail Rock‘s clish clash art, as each model sailed alien and nonchalant but an arm’s length in front of my nose. All I could think about was a trip to the moon, Powerpuff Girls, ET, and that sequined skirt – all expressed in perfect proportions to flatter the body, no less, somewhere between Harajuku and Vive Italia.

That is all.*

*EDIT: a lot of you have been asking what lens I shot these photos with – 85mm f1.8 is the answer.


Margaret Zhang 章凝 is an Australian-born-Chinese filmmaker, photographer, consultant and writer based between New York and Shanghai. Since establishing her website in 2009, Zhang has gone on to work with global brands including CHANEL, Swarovski, YEEZY, Bulgari, Gucci, MATCHES, Under Armour, and Louis Vuitton in a wide range of capacities both in front of and behind the camera, while completing her Bachelor of Commerce/Bachelor of Laws at The University of Sydney. Zhang’s directing, photography, and styling has been employed by the likes of VOGUE, L’Officiel, Harper’s BAZAAR, NOWNESS, and ELLE internationally. She has been listed in Forbes Asia’s 30Under30 and TimeOut’s 40Under40, and her work has been recognized as shaping the international fashion industry by the Business of Fashion BoF500 Index for four consecutive years. CNN has identified Zhang as a leading fashion photographer in Asia and ELLE named her the region’s most influential digital voice. She went on to be the first Asian face to cover ELLE Australia. In 2016, she co-founded BACKGROUND, a global consultancy for which she specialises in Western-to-Chinese and Chinese-to-Western cultural bridging for a range of luxury, lifestyle, and brand initiatives. In 2017, she exhibited a series of 39 unseen photographic works as a solo show in Sydney, and premiered her first short film – a 15-minute exploration of her visceral relationship with classical music on both performance and abstract planes – to critical acclaim. In 2018, co-curated the first annual FOREFRONT Summit focused on inter-industry problem-solving at all scales of business. From this king summit, Zhang developed FOREFRONT+ – a round table series of candid conversations covering subject matters of universal concern. In 2019, THE FACE Magazine engaged Zhang as Creative-Director-at-Large for Asia for its relaunch. Zhang is currently working on her first feature film.


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