Hall of Fame Alumni
Collette Dinnigan Pty Ltd
Collette Dinnigan is Australia’s most internationally respected fashion designer. Previously the recipient of the 1995 Australian Wool Award and the 1996 Australian fashion Awards “Designer of the Year”, Collette was presented in November 1997 with the Louis Vuitton Business Award, recognising her outstanding contribution to Australian Business.
On two occasions, including 1998, The Powerhouse Museum has identified the Collette Dinnigan label as being most representative of Australian design. Her clothing now forms an integral part of the Museum’s historical collection. In May 1998, Collette was appointed Chairperson of the New South Wales Small Business Development Corporation, having previously participated as an advisor to the South Australian Wool Board in 1997.
Born in South Africa and a graduate of the Wellington Polytech in New Zealand, Collette began her career in fashion working for the Costume Department of the Australian Broadcasting Commission in Sydney.
The Collette Dinnigan label was born in 1990 and, through word of mouth, Collette quickly found herself supplying hip boutiques and department stores throughout the world. Although initially designing lingerie, Collette broadened her vision in 1992 by opening her first store in Paddington, Sydney. This coincided with the launch of her first and eagerly anticipated ready to wear collection. In 1995, the second Collette Dinnigan store opened in Chapel Street, South Yarra, Melbourne.
With the world travelling to Australia to order her collection, Collette set her sights on the fashion capital of the world, Paris. She decided to mount a full-scale ready to wear Parade in Paris and in October 1995 became the first Australian based designer to do so. She is still the only Australian designer to do so.
Since then, as well as showing at the Australian Fashion Week on three separate occasions now, she has presented her collection seven times in Paris. The Collette Dinnigan label is the only Australian fashion house recognised by the Chabre Syndicale du Pret-a Porter des Couturiers etdes Createurs de Mode, the official organisation who orchestrates the Paris calendar bi-annually.
In March 1998, Collette earned the rare distinction of being invited to stage a showing the salons under the glass pyramid that adorns the Louvre in Paris. May 13 1998 saw Collette present her Australian collection for Australian Fashion Week, at the prestigious setting of Government House in Sydney.
The Collette Dinnigan label now sells to over 100 stores worldwide, including SAKS, Barney’s, Harvey Nichols and Maxfield.
Strategies for Success
- Make sure your company has a Policy Manual, which spells out rules and guidelines for every matter concerning your business.
- Invest time in training your staff – it will give you a great return.
- Keep a clean and concise company structure with a linked reporting procedure.
- Give your company a mission statement and use it when having to make a difficult decision.
- Train your management to have the ability to have vision yet maintain a focus on the day to day activities of their department.