Sydney fashion label Romance Was Born is known for its playful, ultra-bright themed collections and collaborations with Aussie icons, including designer and Australiana advocate Jenny Kee and artist Del Kathryn Barton. The latest addition to its esoteric archive is a collection of towels, swimsuits, sports hats and tees featuring the distinctive illustrations of Sydney children’s author and illustrator May Gibbs.
Originally released last year, the collection quickly sold out and has now been re-released due to demand.
Romance Was Born’s designers Anna Plunkett and Luke Sales have taken Gibbs’s most iconic creations, Snugglepot and Cuddlepie, and splashed them on black and tie-dyed backdrops. Gumnut baby faces peek over of the top of ribbed socks, and on a tie-dyed tee dress the characters hitch a ride on the back of a kangaroo. Unlike some of the brand’s more high-fashion designs, the pieces are for the beach and the pub: there are linen sports shorts and gumnut baby bucket hats as well as swimsuits, towels and rashies.
It’s not the first time Romance Was Born has taken inspiration from Gibbs. It closed the 2015 autumn/winter Melbourne Fashion Week with its Bush Magic collection, models wearing gumleaf headpieces and eucalypt blossoms as they walked the runway.
When Gibbs, who lived in Neutral Bay, passed away in 1969, she bequeathed half of her works’ copyright to the Cerebral Palsy Alliance and half to disability service provider Northcott, meaning a percentage of all Romance Was Born x May Gibbs collection sales will go to the not-for-profits. Her most famous work, Gumnut Babies, the first of the Gumnut books she illustrated and wrote, was published in 1916.
The Romance Was Born x May Gibbs collection is available online only now until sold out.