How do you know when the time is right to work away from a business that you built from scratch, turning it into a worldwide success? In today’s clip, Collette discusses with Deborah the demands in her life that led her to sell her highly successful fashion business. Recent media reports revealed that Collette has moved her family to Italy, to enjoy the “bella vita” in Rome, so looks like her decision was a good one …
Born in South Africa, Collette Dinnigan grew up in New Zealand and studied fashion and textiles at Wellington Polytechnic. After leaving New Zealand for Australia, Collette worked for the ABC in the costume department. She started as a lingerie designer and then moved onto evening trousers and blouses. At the start of her career she found out that the Australian people didn’t really find it appropriate to buy fancy lingerie. Instead of losing hope and following the on-going trends she stuck to her beliefs and a time came when her dresses were worn by famous actresses including Angelina Jolie, Charlize Theron, Halle Berry and Kate Hudson. As a child, Collette Dinnigan wanted to become a veterinary scientist or a marine biologist, and becoming a fashion designer was totally incidental.
She believes she was born in a family of ‘sea-gypsies’, as her family spent many years on their yacht. Her family travelled around Australia and landed at New Zealand. Collette admits she didn’t like the new country or their new house and thus moved onto Australia to pursue her career. Within years, she became a respected name in the industry and the confirmation came when Paris’ fashion industry came calling. Collette was the first Australian to be invited to show at the official Haute Couture week in Paris. The design sweetheart is best known for bridal wear, as well as flirty feminine gowns suitable for the red carpet.