Romeo 4 Juliet: A Kate Sylvester Love Story

Monday, August 17, 2015

Kate Sylvester's Floria Jumper and Valora Skirt from her R4J collection.

There are few things that signal summer more than a summer romance and this season Kate Sylvester has drawn inspiration from the most well-known love story of all time, Romeo and Juliet. In particular it's the two popular film versions by Franco Zeffirelli (1968) and Baz Luhrmann (1996) that she has reinterpreted with her signature subversive style, making for a beautiful collection that epitomises modern femininity.

From Zeffirelli's traditional telling of the story Sylvester has channelled the filmy night gown and sweet, angelic looks worn by Olivia Hussey as Juliet, which brings lace, muslin and soft colours into the collection. These evolve into stronger colours and vibrant red as the passion of the tale unfolds and love becomes desperation, violence and a bittersweet ending. Whereas from Luhrmann's innovative and hyped-up version Sylvester references the floral shirt famously worn by Leonardo DiCaprio as Romeo, his pinstriped suit and the leather ensembles worn by his gang of friends. Homage is paid to the ties also worn by his character although they've been given a girlish makeover into the same floral print as the shirt.

I was lucky enough to see this collection on the runway at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia in Sydney this April and I have to admit my heart skipped a beat when I saw these gorgeous garments come down the runway. As for me the love story is a personal one too, having played Juliet myself at 17, not long after Baz Luhrmann's film came out. I lived and breathed Romeo and Juliet for that summer although unfortunately my costumes were not as sublime as Sylvester's outfits. However, as an actress it was easy to get swept up in the romance and drama of it all which this collection has certainly captured, and it was with a heart-pounding sense of nostalgia and adoration that I watched this show.

Sylvester's interpretation of Romeo and Juliet definitely feels fresh and contemporary, effortlessly blending the different versions of the story into a cohesive collection that is unmistakably her own. Upon receiving this lookbook images I had to spend a very long time trying to cut down the selection which you finally see represented here as I truly love it all and I have no doubt her many fans will fall head over heels for it too.

Kate Sylvester's R4J collection is available in Kate Sylvester boutiques, stockists and online now.

Images from Kate Sylvester

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