Out of all the places she has frequented, Collette Dinnigan informs Couturing that the most romantic destination would have to be: “Italy – that’s amour”. The fashion designer is no stranger to romance or travel. Her eponymous label is stocked in fashion Meccas all over the world such as Barneys in New York, Harvey Nichols in London and Joyce in Hong Kong.
She was the first Australian designer to be invited by Chambre Syndicale du Prêt-a-Porter des Couturiers et des Createurs De mode – a regulatory board that determines which fashion design houses are true haute couture houses, to showcase her collection in Paris. Unsurprisingly, Dinnigan has been lauded as one of Australia’s 50 Most Beautiful Exports in 2000, 2001 and 2004.
Given her meteoric success as a designer, it is easy to forget that Dinnigan is also a formidable businesswoman. Perhaps it is her pedantic eye for detail. In 1997, she was presented with the Louis Vuitton Business Award and inducted into the Australia Businesswomen’s Hall of Fame the following year. This acumen is evident in her designs. Her creations are so wonderfully whimsical yet one can see there is that strong female sensibility shining through.
“It is really important to know how a woman wants to feel, for me it is about enhancing body shape and making sure the fit is good and then adding sparkle”.
The fashion pack has embraced this whimsical sensibility and the designer counts Halle Berry, former Bond girl (do you remember that dress she wore to the opening of Die Another Day?) and Madonna amongst her strong celebrity following.
Her debut collection of bridal lingerie was an organic progression given that Dinnigan already boasts successful albeit separate bridal and lingerie lines. In fact, the designer launched her brand with a selection of luxurious, French-inspired underwear.
She describes the process to Couturing as being “much more specific because it needs to be functional and also there is much less fabric to work with”. It is this foundation that underpins her intuitive fusion of indulgence and function. This collection was inspired by “all things romantic and feminine mixed with body control”.
The range bears the hallmark of the designer’s signature style – elegant silhouettes and a liberal use of silk, Dinnigan’s favorite material. “It’s luxurious, it breathes and feels great to wear”. She combines this with generous lashings of French Chantilly lace to create breathtaking wisps of white that ensure the wedding night will be especially memorable.
The designer’s creations acknowledge the changing attitude to lingerie over time. There is a departure from “what was so structured and corseted centuries ago. Now it is much more about comfort and fit”. The range was designed with both seduction and romance in mind. “As well as a good fit to give a woman a flattering shape so they feel confident,” she adds.
The conclusion is a 19-piece wardrobe featuring contour and padded silk lined bras, bustiers, suspenders, bikini and control briefs, g-strings and a delicious silk kimono and garter. These pieces will become an essential part of any bride’s trousseau.
Overall, Collette underlines that the sexiest thing a woman or a young bride could wear is: “Confidence and what makes them feel happy! I am still a believe in not sharing all and leaving a little to the imagination”. The collection is delicate, nostalgic and most importantly, a lesson in why we should not underestimate the allure of subtlety.