Collette Dinnigan has recently announced her retirement from the fashion world. In her official statement she sited an inability to achieve a satisfactory work/life balance as her main reason for this decision. Before we examine Dinnigan's career let us first acknowledge the difficult yet admirable decision she has made. Let us also admire a woman who has the honesty to say that she has not been able to have it all; that her professional success has come with sacrifices. I admire women who can admit to their limitations, we all have them and they make our own limitations seem a little more okay. This is not a woman who will tell us she can eat whatever she wants and not have to worry. Why women feel they must build this fantasy of easy perfection about themselves is a mystery. A woman who says 'I am what I am because I work damn hard for it' will have far more respect and admiration for being direct and honest about her life and that is just what Dinnigan has done.
She has set the benchmark for Australian designers and Australian style. Her pretty dresses have been de rigour for every stylish woman in Australia for more than a decade. It was Maggie Alderson who described a Dinnigan dress as the ultimate safety dress. Paired with a denim jacket, she wrote, could make you stylish and comfortable in any sartorial minefield.
Not only has Dinnigan been designing the most amazing dress for some time now she has also taken her talents into a more accessible Collette for Collette Dinnigan line (sold at David Jones stores), she did swimwear under the same diffusion label and even worked with Target on a lingerie line.
When the Australian ballet was celebrating its anniversary Dinnigan took her existing skills in children's wear and designed the most beautiful ballet clothes for little girls, again sold at Target.
Dinnigan knew when and how to take calculated risks and step out of the comfort of her high-end designs. As an astute business woman she recognised that diffusion lines and lending her name to more mass produced lines would not degrade her signature line. The quality of her product, her excellent eye for fabric and detail never once failed her. It is unusual for any designer not to have one terrible season from which they must come back and prove themselves but, not Dinnigan she was consistently excellent and will forever remain an icon to all designers and any lover of fashion.
From Chic Exchange we wish her a very happy future, we hope to see her return and we wish she and her family many of the happiest memories any person could wish for.
Thanks you Collette. xx