Iced VoVo Dress

Contributed by: Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences

Iced VoVo Dress with Flower Shoes Iced VoVo Dress Front Close-up of Iced VoVo Dress Hem and Stockings Iced VoVo Dress Back Shoes worn with Iced VoVo Dress Iced VoVo Dress label Iced VoVo Dress label
  • Australian dress register ID:

  • Owner:

    Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences
  • Owner registration number:

  • Date range:

  • Place of origin:

    Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  • Gender:

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Object information

Significance statement

The Iced VoVo dress by fashion label Romance Was Born is cheeky take on an iconic Australian biscuit. Designers, Anna Plunkett and Luke Sales are well known for their portrayal of Australian kitsch and use of traditional craft techniques. Shown at Rosemount Australian Fashion Week, Spring/Summer 2009/2010 as part of the Doilies and Pearls, Oysters and Shells collection it was widely covered by both newspapers and magazines.

This Iced VoVo dress is significant as an example of unique and original contemporary Australian fashion design. It represents Australian themes in a playful manner and was one of the most talked about and acclaimed collections at Australian Fashion Week. Plunkett and Sales are among the most creative and challenging Australian design teams to emerge in the last decade.

The Iced VoVo Dress has both historical and aesthetic significance. The dress was created by an Australian fashion label that has wider connections to national art and fashion communities. For example, designers Anna Plunkett and Luke Sales have collaborated with Indigenous artist, Bidjigal woman Esme Timbery as well as Archibald prize winner Del Kathryn Barton. The label's unique aesthetic has attracted accolades from celebrities including Cate Blanchett who wore another piece from this collection show to an opening at ACMI in Melbourne. The dress, therefore, contributes to an understanding of the way Romance Was Born draws inspiration from and collaborates with various creative individuals to present a innovative fashion product.

In terms of aesthetic significance, the dress is unique and well-manufactured. There is a lot of attention to detail on the dress. For example, the use of clear rods to represent coconut being stitched on to the red and pink pom poms. This allows for a realistic representation of the Iced VoVo food product.

Furthermore, the dress is significant as it has a known provenance, is in excellent condition and has great interpretive capacity. The display history of the dress is also documented. In terms of condition, the dress shows very slight wear. It is in excellent condition after only being worn for modelling purposes. It is a unique piece combining art, food, and fashion.

All of these factors contribute to the dress' interpretive capacity. It could be displayed to showcase the work of the label, to illustrate an aspect of contemporary Australian fashion, or to draw wider connections between fashion and Australian culture.

Author: Rebecca Lush, 14 June 2016.


Dress designed in the shape of Arnott's 'Iced VoVo' biscuit. It comprises a rectangular body made of light brown fabric with a scalloped edge. The centre front of dress has a single row of seven red woollen pom poms and two rows of seven pink pom poms down each side of the central row. Pom Poms have clear and white plastic rods attached to represent the coconut found on top of Iced VoVos. Reverse of dress is unembellished. The entire dress sits just above the knee.

The ensemble also includes a pair of cobalt blue platform high heels decorated with pink and red fabric flowers.

History and Provenance

How does this garment relate to the wider historical context?

The dress was part of Romance Was Born's collection show presented at the annual Australian Fashion Week shows. Established in 1996 by Simon Lock and Australian Fashion Innovators, Australian Fashion Week is the premier showcase for the work of Australian designers.

Romance Was Born's collection was well received and featured on the cover and in a 6 page spread in Vogue Australia June 2009.

The dresigners have also dressed musicians Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Cindy Lauper, Bat For Lashes, Debbie Harry, Lilly Allen, MIA, the Presets and Architecture in Helsinki. Australian actress and Academy Award winner, Cate Blanchett has worn their designs.

Where did this information come from?

Romance Was Born, 'Bio', Retrieved 14 June 2016 from

Romance was Born, 'Creative Sydney 10X10', 2015, Retrieved 14 June 2016 from

Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences, 'In Conversation with Luke Sales From Romance Was Born', 2015, Retrieved 14 June 2016 from

This garment has been exhibited

The dress was exhibited in the Frock Stars: Inside Australian Fashion Week at the Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Powerhouse Museum in 2010 and subsequently travelled to venues around Australia.

  1. Place of origin:

    Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

  2. Owned by:

    Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences.

  3. Worn by:

    Worn by models for the Romance Was Born Spring Summer 2009/2010 collection show and for editorial shoots. 

  4. Occasion(s):

    Romance Was Born Doilies and Pearls, Oysters and Shells Spring Summer 2009/10 collection Show.

  5. Place:

    The Wharf Theatre, Sydney

  6. Designed by:

    Designed by Anna Plunkett and Luke Sales.

    Anna Plunkett and Luke Sales established the label Romance Was Born in 2005. Both Plunkett and Sales studied fashion at East Sydney Technical College. After graduating, the pair were selected for the International Talent Support awards in Italy. They turned down an internship offer from John Galliano to establish their own label in Sydney. Conceived as a versatile creative space they design seasonal collections as well as one-off and limited production pieces. Collaborations with other creatives is a key part of their process.

  7. Made by:

    Made in the studio of Romance Was Born in Sydney.

  8. Made for:

    The Iced VoVo dress was made as a one-off show piece for their Spring Summer 2009/10 collection show.

Trimmings / Decoration

The dress features large red and pink pom poms. Small white and clear plastic rods are attached to the pom poms to mimic the look of coconut. They are joined to the pom poms by white thread.

Fibre / Weave

  1. Natural dye
  2. Synthetic dye


The brown scalloped dress has been machine stitched.  On the front of the dress a panel of mesh has been machine sewn. Attached to this mesh panel are hand made pom poms that have been hand stitched on to the mesh.


Black and silver fabric tag attached at neckline with the label name 'Romance Was Born'.


No evidence of alterations.

  1. Hand sewn
  2. Machine sewn
  3. Knitted
  4. Other


  1. Bias
  2. Straight


The dress is designed to be pulled on over the head. There are large neck and arm openings and no fastenings. 

  1. Hook and eye
  2. Lacing
  3. Buttons
  4. Zip
  5. Drawstring

Stiffening / Lining / Padding

The front of the dress is lined with pink and red mesh and has the corresponding-coloured pom poms attached. The brown dress has been padded to create the shape. It is not known what type of padding has been utilized.


Neck 660 mm
Chest 605 mm
Hem circumference 1050 mm
Front neck to hem 970 mm
Back neck to hem 890 mm
Neck to sleeve head 90 mm
Cross back 480 mm
Convert to inches

Opening of sleeve is 520 mm.

Dress Themes

The Iced VoVo dress is simultaneously a piece of high fashion and a work of art. On the Romance Was Born website Anna Plunkett and Luke Sales state that they design garments to "create immersive cultural experiences that provoke an emotional response".


The dress is in excellent condition. Evidence only of slight wear.


  1. Excellent
  2. Good
  3. Fair
  4. Poor


  1. Worn
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