We all have women in our life who we have a ‘girl crush’ on.
Collette Dinnigan is one such woman for me. She has had an amazing career and is someone who is giving me so much inspiration with my plans to grow Ankalia. She has had many milestones in her career and has received numerous prestigious awards along the way.
After graduating from Fashion and Textile Design in the late 80’s Collette worked in the costume department for the Australian Broadcasting Commission in Sydney. I believe she then started selling her beautiful French inspired dry clean only underwear and lingerie at Paddington Markets in Sydney. The lingerie was incredibly detailed and hand embroidered in India by highly skilled craftsmen.
In 1992, Collette opened her first retail store in Paddington, Sydney. It became the number one destination for beautiful lingerie style dresses, delicate lace pieces and unique prints. She then started exporting to Barney’s in New York and Harvey Nichols in London and Hong Kong.
In 1995, she became the 'first-and-only-Australian' designer to participate on request by 'Chambre Syndicale du Pret a Porter des Couturiers et des Createurs de Mode' in the Paris’ Prêt-a-Porter (ready-to-wear) Fashion Week and launch a ready-to-wear collection as well.
She became a member of the Chambre Syndicale Committee, in 1995.
In 1997 she became an advisor to the South Australian Wool Board, and was also awarded the 'Louis Vuitton Business Award'.
In 1998, she was inducted in the 'Australia Businesswomen's Hall of Fame' and she was also appointed as the Chairperson of the NSW Small Business Development Corporation.
In 2007, she produced the 'Collette Dinnigan Bridal' collection.
In 2010, to mark her 20 years in fashion, Collette launched a diffusion collection called 'Collette'. The collection was stocked in over 100 retailers globally.
In 2012, the New South Wales Government honoured her with the 5th Australian Fashion Laureate Award.
In 2013, she became the first Australian designer to show in Singapore's 'Audi Fashion Festival'. She opened the week alongside designers Carolina Herrera and Peter Pilotto.
Top top all of this off, on June 12th 2017 Collette was awarded the Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) under the general division within the Australian honours system. The Order of Australia was established by Queen Elizabeth II and countersigned by Prime Minister Gough Whitlam in 1975. The Australian Honours Secretariat’s website states “The Order of Australia is the principal and most prestigious means of recognising outstanding members of the community at a national level and nominations are encouraged from all members of the Australian public.”
The citation for Collette’s honour is:
“For distinguished service to the clothing manufacturing industry as an internationally renowned fashion designer and entrepreneur, as a supporter and promoter of Australian wool and as a role model to women.
Well done Collette! You are a true role model and inspiration to me.