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Taking control in the world of fashion


Her fashion label is known around the world. Her clothes have graced the catwalks of Paris, London and New York. Collette Dinnigan chatted with us earlier in the year about shifting her life’s priorities. We’re featuring her interview as part of our ‘Women who inspired us in 2014’ series. 

The doyenne of the Australian fashion industry, Collette Dinnigan chats with Deborah about ‘taking control’ of her life and the decision to wind down the design arm of her successful business.

After 24 years of the roller-coaster ride of retail, Collette decided to shut up shop on her acclaimed fashion label.

Since winding back the core of her business, Collette has immersed herself in compiling a book of her life through reminiscences and photographs called Obsessive Creative. The project took two years to complete and emerged as a major part of her life emotionally and creatively. After returning home from Paris Fashion Week and a hectic business trip, Collette looked at her children —11-month-old son Hunter and nine-year-old Estella — and realised she needed the balance restored in her life, compelling her to make the decision to close the retail arm of the business.

Collette wanted to spend more time being a mother and felt she wasn’t carrying out her dual responsibilities — the business and motherhood — to the best of her ability. The consummate professional, Collette always approaches everything at full-mast and realised she wasn’t prepared to be a half-mast mother any more. ‘It was an extremely intimate and genuine decision. I believe children need routines, consistency and assurance. These things don’t come from a textbook — they come from your gut, your heart and your instinct. I need to be around much more to teach them these things,’ she told Fairfax media.

Collette, who married businessman Bradley Cocks in 2011, referred to her late mother when making the decision. She said her mother worked but never once put work before her children. ‘I want the same for my own children,’ she said.

She will continue to design for her children’s range, Enfant, and her fashion eyewear range for Specsavers, as well as maintaining an office for small creative projects. Dinnigan’s diffusion label, Collette by Collette Dinnigan will still be available at department stores.

Balance Team

This article was written by the brains trust of Balance . We are a talented team of writers and contributors with real life experience and a passion for finding balance.

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