Romance Punk

Usually, stories start at the beginning, then everything happens, and then it ends. That is, usually. This editorial went the other way. I could see what it would look like at the end, a vision with the clarity of reality, but had no idea where it had come from or what its story would be. I knew I had to bring it to life, however, so I set about filling in the blanks. Romance Punk – what did it mean? Where did it come from?

The Windsor Hotel in Melbourne, with its lush, floral-patterned carpets and elegant furnishings, is about as far from the traditional idea of Punk as it gets. A triumph of traditional, Victorian aesthetics, I’m fairly sure the Sex Pistols aren’t on the lobby’s music playlist, and I doubt they ever will be. Romantic, definitely, but in a safe, well-trodden way. That’s what made it perfect – we infiltrated its luxuriant suites with an attitude too brash to ignore. It needed to be challenged; to be the stage for risk-taking, instead of for something we’d seen before.

I put the collection together with disruption in mind, and found it in France, with Louis Vuitton and Dior. The latter had turned dark, with erotic suggestions strapped into a blazer with harness connected. A big, mean set of black military boots, laced to the top, left imprints in the soft carpet, which had likely never felt something so tough. Louis Vuitton’s accessories were edgy and unusual: a key repurposed into a long earring, and another from a safety pin; a heavy chain for a neck choker, and a blacker-than-black policeman’s cap.

With damp, flattened hair and moody, exhausted glares, IMG’s freshest talent in Hugh Burry and Matt Devlin gave off the air of having just emerged from three days buried in some debauched bunker in Berlin. They sank into the furniture without regard for how conspicuously out of place they were. A metallic Prada tank top flashed industrial and harsh, pulled over the top of a more relaxed shirt: a raw edge on a soft texture that gave the look more weight. This was about setting up tensions – the hotel and the clothes, the soft and the hard: the Romance and the Punk.

It all started to take true shape when we balanced the masculine masochism of the shoot with a dose of colour. Adding yet another out-of-place ingredient to the jarring scene, the models held bunches of Sunflowers – just to put yet another question mark around the entire, wild scene. Ultimately, that was the story to be discovered in this editorial. Feeling out of place is a common enough feeling. What’s not common is owning it, celebrating it. The Romance Punk is at his peak when he’s the most different man in the room – and if a bunch of sunflowers, a heavy chain around the neck and a strapped-up Dior blazer is how he makes it happen, then so that’s what it’ll be.

The video shoot brings another dimension. The aesthetic of the entire project is something that is best understood with movement and with sound. It’s an idea that is relatable when you see it come to life – it’s a vibe that goes beyond the still image. That’s part of what Punk means – it’s active, alive and energetic. In the film, there’s something to be grasped that the photos can’t capture – it’s the manic intensity that allowed this story to be finished before it was told. In the end, what made this work was that it was real. Visceral, raw and real – that is the story Romance Punk tells.

Hugh wears blazer Prada, earring Louis Vuitton, tank Bonds, and trousers Blindness.

Left to Right: Matt wears hat Gucci, shoes Salvatore Ferragamo, coat, vest, and joggers Prada. Hugh wears trousers Salvatore Ferragamo, boots Dior Homme, blazer, vest, and socks Prada.

Matt wears vintage shirt Ralph Lauren, tank Prada, neck chain and trousers Louis Vuitton.

Hugh wears blazer Prada and earring Louis Vuitton.

Matt wears all clothes and accessories Dior Homme

Hugh wears blazer Dior Homme, tie Gucci, and trousers Prada.

Left to Right: Matt wears joggers Prada, boots Dior Homme, and hat Gucci. Hugh wears blazer Salvatore Ferragamo, tie Gucci, joggers and shoes Prada.

Hugh wears blazer Prada, earring Louis Vuitton, tank Bonds, and trousers Blindness.

Matt wears hat Gucci, shoes Salvatore Ferragamo, coat, vest, and joggers Prada.

Creative Director/ Stylist: Hass Murad
Photographer: Liane Hurvitz
Hair Stylist: Ben Martin
Make Up: Fatima Jomaa