Collette Dinnigan - Textiles and Design Essay

Born in South Africa in 1966 and brought up in New Zealand, Dinnigan had experienced a range of cultures from early on in life. Dinnigan attended Wellington Polytechnic College until the age of 19 by which time she had graduated, majoring fashion design. Once graduated, Dinnigan moved to Sydney where she was given a job in the costume department of the Australian Broadcasting Commission (ABC). It did not take long for Dinnigan to be recognized as a valuable employee, with her infinite attention to detailing and wide variety of skills and knowledge on historical lacing to both the design and fabrication of garments.

At age twenty one Dinnigan launched her first label, “Palladium” consisting of outfits with a recognizable street style, which quickly became popular among department stores across Australia. After a short while the demands of her work became too much for, Dinnigan who decided to leave the ABC costume department to look for something more sought-after. After a serious knee injury restricting Dinnigan to stay within her home and rest, she began making evening wear and lingerie for her friends and family.

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With beautifully hand sewn silks and fine soft laces, it was not long before these creations became the inspiration Dinnigan needed to re launch her career within the fashion industry. By 1990 Dinnigan was a fully fledges designer and owner of her label, “Collette Dinnigan” and holder of a workforce slowly inching its way to what would quickly consist of 80 people. Her uniquely bohemian inspired garments were sought after by Barneys New York Neiman Marcus, Harvey Nichols, and Joyce in Hong Kong.

Not only is Dinnigan to date the only Australian based designer to personally own a boutique in London, but she is also the only Australian based designer to be invited to the Chambre Syndicate in Paris to display her range. Target markets ?All women aging from 16 to 60. Dinnigan’s garments are designed specifically to flatter the body by accentuating the positive assets of the female figure and follow the lines of the body which has become an asset to Dinnigan’s garments.

Dinnigan’s designs are made specifically to fulfill one purpose above all others, to meet the needs of her customer, and at the same time not forgetting their budget. “The customer is the most valuable thing at the end of it all”. Dinnigan manages to reach her target market by means of regular magazine spreads of her latest collections within popular magazines such as Vogue and Vogue bride, her frequently updated website to keep the public informed, celebrity movie premiers, interviews, and runway shows launching fresh new designs.

The economy of those within Dinnigan’s niche market, determines the oncoming success of each of her new designs. The change in customer demand contributes to each success, and also influences the collections to come. As customers become earth friendly oriented, Dinnigan like all fashion designers needs to be able to cater to this in order to meet the demands of her target market. The variation of opinions and attitudes influences each decision within the fashion design.

The relationships between countries can affect exports, imports and production rates which all affect Dinnigan’s overall success. ?Children from newborns to four year olds with her recent Enfant range (image shown on the right hand side). Dinnigan’s recent children’s wear range “Enfant”, was inspired by a desire to create bohemian style clothing for her daughter, as she felt limited by the variety within children’s wear stores. The philosophy behind Dinnigan’s enfant is to produce beautiful pieces that are wearable, versatile and child friendly, and affordable.

Dinnigan works on mass production, to reduce costs, whilst still using quality fabrics . Due to quantity of production she is able to decrease costs to suit the average wage, providing good quality and affordability for consumers. She achieves her beautiful end results through the use of soft cottons, voile and lace dresses, washable silk dresses, cardigans and luxury knit blends of silk and cashmere. “I wanted simple cotton things. . in quite simple and earthy colours”, Dinnigan said. Unique style Characteristics typical of Collette Dinnigan

Dinnigan possesses an individual theme which she tends to influence all her collections, with a feminine bohemian zest and a romantic elegance which she makes timeless due to her evidently being inspired by vintage styles. Dinnigan possesses a common trademark of femininity, with dresses of chiffon, lace and tulle, eloquently tailored to perfection. Her designs regularly feature beading are constructed from the finest delicate sheer & lace fabrics. Silk organza and other lightweight silks are a favourite of Dinnigans.

She manages to achieve all this with a suggestive rather than revealing style, which enables her garments to communicate a sensuality and individuality. Dinnigan depends heavily upon her own imagination, creating and materializing fashion in ways her imagination wants things to come to light. Her inspiration changes with each new range she masters from various cultures, periods, designers, and natural sources. But throughout her changes, Dinnigan keeps a few influences constant throughout her works such as immortal vintage styles, luxurious fabric choices and subtle feminine detailing.

All elements of the environment contain an influence on the designs Dinnigan pursues, her influences come in the form of, recent events, ethnic influences within the community, fashion studies, previous designers, nature (seasons, weather patterns and climate, availability of fabrics, location, the creative arts such as art deco, technological advancements etc. 2010 Spring/Summer collection One design that typifies Collette Dinnigan’s background and inspiration These dresses beautiful, with their gentle pastels and delicate detailed lace inspired embellishing.

The detailing and quality is exceptional, in calmingly soft shades and textures. Made from the world’s finest laces, silks and cottons, the range is perfect for any special occasion in your little girls life. The entire range is timeless, making it much more than a piece of clothing – these pieces are destined to become heirloom treasures for your daughter and generations to come. These are keepers, to be handed down again and again to be worn on special occasions through many generations. If you have a Christening, Naming Day or other special day coming up, these are perfect with their dainty charm.

Within the enfant collection, Collette displays her common themes with the woman’s wear, of delicate beading, French inspired laces, and her intricate attention to detailing, giving the garments an effortless, childlike softness, with natural undertones and simple, comfortable styles, unrestrictive for children. There are evident similarities between the Enfant Christening gown and the dress on the right for the mature age child. The baby doll style, looseness around the body, cotton fabrics, free light and earthy tones of youth create a girly prettiness that is both subtle and sweet, possessing a rose petal like gracefulness.

Just two examples of the day to day prettiness and contemporarily and historically influenced children’s clothing of Dinnigan’s Enfant range. Historical and contemporary influences The baby and bonnet and gown design is both historically and contemporarily influenced. Historically in the sense that the design mirrors that of christening gown in the Victorian period. With the delicately hand made cotton lace throughout both the bonnet and through the length of the piece, making it a antique inspired piece of high quality and luxurious grace. The chosen shade of pastel rose bud pink would be the contemporary influence.

Historically, Victorians would have stuck to rich creams and pure white cottons for their christening gowns as they were classic colours. This contemporary twist to the historically inspired piece widens the marketability as it is not restricted in its uses. The colour change and contemporary twist has enabled the outfit to be suited to a range of occasions. The wear ability of the dress enables it to be used time and time again, which also promoted marketability as it saves money with its versatility, reasonability and high standard of quality.

Delicate colours, styles and materials that have historical roots, which Dinnigan has modified the end result of certain features to allow this piece of the Enfant collection to be suited to a wider market . Such features include: ? Sleeve style (Victorians opt for lengthy sleeves) where as Dinnigan as modified and simplified the design making them shorter, fitted but at the same time giving freedom for the enfant. ?Overall length of the gown (Victorian had dress end finishing past babies feet, as they were going to be carried during christening).

Dinnigan modified this, making it shorter but at the same time still lengthy, but allowing the baby to be able to be mobile and comfortable, which also adds to the dresses versatility. ?The laces in the Enfant collection would have been machine manufactured due to mass production, where as those of the past would have been completely made by hand. This does not affect the look, as Dinnigan still achieves the intricate and delicate qualities of hand made laces. Instead, she has selected the finest quality lace, to lengthen the life and embellish the gown. Dinnigan has fitted the dress slightly for the child’s waist, this attention to detail changes the overall look of the dress, so as the child does not look swamped in a dress that is too big, this style complements the child. ?The conservative features of the Victorian style christening gown are still evident such as – neckline, fullness of skirt, loose fitting. ?Bonnet is of a simple style, made entirely of the highest quality laces, matching the child’s dress. ?Dinnigan breaks the boundaries of the Victorian style with her choice of colour range for this dress.

It does come in the classic rich creams and pure whites, but Dinnigan also chose the pure rosebud pink for the collection. This colour still promotes its historical inspired style, and the simple angelic graces of the whites and creams, but at the same time adds a slight earthy girlness that is subtle and soft. This colour change also widens the marketability of the design, as It can be worn for a whole range of social occasions, as It is not restricted by the associations of white with religious ceremonies. Current trends Collette Dinnigan is utilizing

Collette Dinnigan autumn/winter 09/10 collection at Paris Fashion Week Dinnigan’s collection at the Paris ready-to-wear collections was oriented around lace, sequins and restrained elegance were perfectly timed with the current trends in the wake of the New York, London, Milan and Paris shows. The crisp collection is predestined for future red carpets ceremonies, with the classic styles and elegant finishes. Exquisite lace blouses and covetable coats played their part in the show, with an essence of grandeur infused the collection. The use of blacks, neutral tones, and silvers was sophisticated and striking, yet cool, feminine and timeless.

Her designs acquired a slightly Edwardian influence in a short-sleeved, black lace blouse with an Art Deco belt and matching beaded pockets on a long, black satin skirt or a classic black polo-neck sweater, with a long, full ball-skirt in tiers of black, floral lace and tulle. While the colour palette was majority black it was not dark, or broody or depressed, but elegant, understated and with a subtle hint to the glamour of ’30s Paris. Along with the classic black, neutral tones and silvers were used to give an all round strikingly ophisticated yet at the same time cool, feminine and timelessly sheik. Collette Dinnigan Spring Collection 09 Fantasy is one theme of the Spring collections, and Alice in Wonderland was the influence Dinnigan concentrated. Dinnigan took us to her wonderland with this variation between a mirage of colours, wild prints and intricate embellishments. There was a little lace, some tulle, and rhinestones. After Alice, the gowns became more interesting in a sense. The boldly colored, floral prints of Dinnigan’s ruffled and tiered dresses worn shrugged off of one shoulder had real personality.

Creating a sense of freedom, adventurous spirit and elegance so commonly associated with Dinnigan’s style. The “Alice in Wonderland” theme appears to be inspired by the upcoming remake of the animation, with Its wild costumes, with outrageous explosions of both colour and texture. This influence can especially be noted in the sudden alteration between black, to brick whim sickle and bombastic colours and prints, and the irregular formations of fabrics. This is why women love wearing her clothes, because her collections are always on- trend and yet she never forgets what women really want to wear.

How Collette has adapted her designs to reflect the latest trends within the fashion industry and her influence on the fashion market Dinnigan’s influence on current trends is evident in most any fashion magazine you buy, with her constant staple of blacks, whites and fleshy tones, continuously re appearing in the fashion industry. A dedicated leader of fashion who has stamped her personality on an entire era of Australian style, and managed to stay at the top for nearly two decades.

Dinnigan’s dresses are renowned for the way they drape and sculpt bodies in a wearable albeit subtle cut, often to sensual dramatic effect. Elements in her designs can be seen in many of today’s fashions and include backless dresses, plunging necklines, halter necks, short hemlines, flirty ruffles, tiered skirts and black white and nude shades of fabric. Her lingerie inspired sophisticated and feminine designs and sought after the world over and are copied and even sourced as inspiration for other designers.

Due to Her designs, Dinnigan is favored among celebrities such as Elle McPherson, Nicole Kidman, Tori Spelling, Halle Berry, Naomi Watts, Angelina Jolie and Charlise Theron, which in tern makes her garments sought after by the general public. In March 2005 Collette was voted “Best Australian Designer” by the readers of in Style magazine. In May 2005 she was honored by Marie Claire magazine, receiving two awards – “Readers choice winner for Bes Australian Designer” and the “Outstanding Achievement in Fashion award”. “I am delighted and humbled to be honored in the international arena for doing something I am truly passionate about.

Australian fashion is now recognized internationally and I am proud to be a part of that” said Dinnigan. The factors that have determined the success of Collette Dinnigan Around the world her hand sewed silk, soft as air chiffon and sexy lace underwear and equally intricate evening wear have been putting elegance back into fashion. The expertise, qualifications, skills and knowledge of Dinnigan the fashion designer and her 80 staff are vital to her success, without them her garments could not be made to the high standards which her customers have come to expect.

To the same effect the facilities available for the production and manufacture of her designs are also crucial. Financial resources and support are essential to keep Dinnigan’s designs coming. “What you start with is good craft. Obviously there’s a void or gap in the market, there’s a demand for it but you can’t sustain a business without demand”. Dinnigan from the beginning of her company, adopted financial planning strategies that have determined her constant success. This plan consisted of goals to aim for, and a rule that employees were encouraged to evaluate their assets and weaknesses, so that her company could be as stable as possible.

This provided strength in the results of her garments, and the strength of her team as they were placed in areas that were ideal for each of their strengths, and were allowed to truly create. This stable and comfortable working environment creates the perfect base pad for positive results and hard efforts. When asked what she believed the key to success is, her reply – “I do have an enormous appetite for what’s behind the curtain. I am very inquisitive and I always take the time to find out about the things that interest me. I think an idea is a really important thing”.

Dinnigan keeps on top of the latest the world has to offer for inspiration, grabbing her influence from anything and everything that she feels will inspire her to come up with a design that will meet the needs, wants and desires of her target market. “Ultimately it’s my business and I’m here for the long haul. I firmly believe that the most important thing in business is an idea. ” Dinnigan works on mass production, to reduce costs, whilst still using quality fabrics . Due to quantity of production she is able to decrease costs to suit the average wage, providing good quality and affordability for consumers.

This enables Dinnigan to succeed financially, as she saves money buying fabrics in bulk, mass producing and increases sales by decreasing costs. Customers are not missing out, as they receive designer, high end, rich and luxurious garment with affordable prices. “The label is moving towards a more bespoke aesthetic than trying to service all- its about value for money for us, not expansion for the sake of it”. Resources Book ?Johnathon Jackson, Australia’s wealth creators: in depth interviews with our greatest entrepreneurs, Wright books, 2005, National library of Australia. Christine Castle and Lynda Peters, Textiles and Design, Cencage learning Australia, 2007. Online ?Lauren Milligan 02 July 2009, Collette Dinigan, © Conde Nast Digital UK http://www. vogue. co. uk/news/daily/090702-collette-dinnigan-interview. aspx ?Paris Fashion week 30th September- 8th October, © Copyright of Telegraph Media Group Limited 2010 http://www. telegraph. co. uk/fashion/paris-fashion-week/ ?Collette Dinnigan © 2008 http://www. collettedinnigan. com. au/ ?Nicole Phelps October 2009, Collette Dinnigan, Style. com © 2009 www. style. com


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