The Fashion Folk S02 ep5 : Collette Dinnigan, Collette Dinnigan Fashion, [State]

Interview with Collette Dinnigan

Collette Dinnigan is no overnight success. In her late teens, Collette attended Wellington Polytechnic and on graduation she moved to Australia to began her career in fashion, working for the Costume Department of the Australian Broadcasting Commission in Sydney. Attention to detail and a historical perspective on both fabrication and design were the result. Stepping out on her own in 1990, the Collette Dinnigan label was born. Collette's distinctive style meant her in-demand designs were snapped up by hip boutiques and department stores in Australia and New Zealand. Barney's New York, Neiman Marcus, Harvey Nichols and Joyce in Hong Kong were soon to follow and an international presence was established.


Why Paris? Why not London, New York, you have the pick of all the fashion capitals.

Dinnigan: It’s most international of the fashion cities, you have designers from Japan like …
showing … you have Italian designers showing here, English designers showing here and
Australia, we are, obviously and whereas I think New York is kind of, even though there’s a
gravitation of a lot of Australian designers to New York, it’s much more about the American
designer and likewise for London, and I think each city has its kind of individual spirit and
London’s very street and Paris is very chic and it’s very creative and very designer and it’s very
much about luxury brands so that’s our niche market and I love Paris, I think it’s a very creative,
emotional city.

What does the word fashion mean to you personally?

Jewellery Theatre Carravaggio

Dinnigan: It means a trend, it means change, it means movement, it means constantly on the go,
never ending and you’re kind of reinventing some, an idea or giving it a new take or a freshness
and that’s the hardest thing, but regardless you know there’s fashion in food and fashion in hotels
and interior design so it’s very much what a trend is.

Is it a hard job to keep coming up with great, beautiful fashion?

Dinnigan: Oh it is, it’s like, it’s I’m unfortunate that I have a calendar that I have to work to,
perhaps it’s fortunate because otherwise maybe I’d never get it done but you know unlike the film
industry where you can actually take one or two years off and do, focus on doing a film, where
having to meet the fashion cycle time line which is ultimately about the consumer and what retail
demands and people wanting new clothes for the new seasons so it’s, it does have a purpose and a
function it’s not necessary just a whim.


Jewellery Theatre Carravaggio

Do you find that there is an Australian-ness about your design? Because I look at your clothes and
they’re very glamorous and very, very international.

Dinnigan: On the last collection I just did for Resort was very much Australiana I called it, but
that’s not necessarily the case, but I do believe living you know the other side of the world is, you
get a different take, it’s a freshness, you know you’re not jaded because everything isn’t at your
doorstep, you do have to reinvent the wheel a bit and sort of, and be a bit more resourceful, which I
think gives it the freshness it needs and it’s important to do that and for me it’s the kind of the way
I do my business, so I don’t know anything else.


Jewellery Theatre Elements

What are some of the amusing things that happen in fashion that never would happen in anything
else? In any other industry, that makes you sometimes pull your hair out, but also sometimes make
you glad that you’re alive.

Dinnigan: Um, it’s very passionate, it’s very quick, there’s an enormous amount of work that goes
into you know 12-15 minute shows so you spend three months and a lot of people, you don’t, no
dress rehearsal so you know, it’s all the passion and emotion sort of things do go flying last minute
because it is, it’s so intense, but the best thing about it is that there’s memories and there’s, it’s not
necessarily so much anecdotes but there’s memories and there’s times and thank God for a glass of
champagne afterwards when you can reminisce and I think you know the intensity of it all gives
you a lot to remember.

Jewellery Theatre Fairytales

Do you fall over after each show and have a break for a week or so?

Dinnigan: Um, I’d love to, but no, there’s always the post, post show, post interviews, you know
and unfortunately the one thing our distance doesn’t actually really help me that much and give me
the leisure of taking a break, you need to do as much as you possibly can while we’re here and on
the ground and also I mean I think it’s the same for Americans or whoever’s in town, or the
English you know, it’s, you’ve got a truly international collection of press and buyers and that and
they’re only here for a week so you really do have to cram everything in and it almost becomes
like a 24 hour clock for most people.

OFFICIAL WEBSITE: Collette Dinnigan,Collette Dinnigan Fashion, State