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Collette Dinnigan: fashion's princess


Jenna Clarke

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Collette Dinnigan wins Laureate

From bespoke button-holes at the ABC to Australia’s highest fashion award.

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Designer Collette Dinnigan has a lot in common with the Duchess of Cambridge Catherine Middleton.

Like the new Duchess, Dinnigan - who counts Prince William's wife as a client - also enjoys the peace and quiet and plans on making the most of it tonight.  

The demure designer, who began her career 30-years ago as a costume maker for the ABC and local music scene, will receive the fifth Australian Fashion Laureate and plans on celebrating "in my gumboots and shorts in the gardening pruning."

Australia's fashion laureate ... Collette Dinnigan.

Australia's fashion laureate ... Collette Dinnigan.

Tonight the NSW Government and IMG Fashion will host a trophy presentation and cocktail reception to honour the couturier for her contribution to the Australian fashion industry and she plans to mark the occasion by "totally switching off". 

Dinnigan has come a long way since learning old tailoring methods in the dusty drama department of the national broadcaster and sewing lingerie out the back of her first bricks and mortar Paddington boutique which opened in 1991.

The designer, whose Paris Fashion Week show is a favourite for editors and celebrity stylists, says having a wild imagination is the key to success in the fashion industry.

It's tried and tested advice considering she first decided to make dresses out of lingerie.

"You have to take the knowledge of the foundations and apply a freshness to them. Having a wild imagination is key," she told Style Files Paula Joye.

Nowdays her creations are in the wardrobe rotations of Oprah and are the red carpet gowns of choice for Angelina Jolie and Sarah Murdoch.

Dinnigan received an Award for Excellence in 1998 and she was awarded for Australia’s 50 Most Beautiful Exports in 2001, 2002 and 2004.


  • Congratulations you look even more beautiful as the years go by.

    Date and time
    May 04, 2012, 10:47AM
    • Collette sounds like a women who just wants to get on with it. Her work is interesting but she's desperate to be un-interesting. Let's just let her be and respect that.

      Date and time
      May 04, 2012, 10:56AM
      Comments are now closed

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