Collette Dinnigan launched her eponymous clothing label in 1990 with a dry-clean-only lingerie collection and quickly transformed the brand into a global fashion empire. This Sunday, after almost 25 years, the designer will close the doors to her only remaining boutique on High Street in Armadale.
Dinnigan announced late last year she was closing her flagship label to spend more time with family.
“The business requires 24-7 attention,” she says. “You cannot bring up two children and be jetting around the world … you can, but it’s not the way I want to do it. So I made the decision because I had zero time to myself and for the family.”
For more than two decades Dinnigan’s schedule has been hectic, involving two Paris Fashion Week shows a year (she was the first Australian designer to be invited to show on the prestigious Haute Couture catwalks in Paris), resort collection presentations in Hamilton Island as well as the day-to-day responsibilities of overseeing multiple retail boutiques, an online store, a diffusion line, a lingerie collection and a children’s wear label.
It’s been hard work, but it’s been fun work. Dinnigan recalls standing in the supermarket in 2002 and getting a call from a stylist in LA telling her that actress Halle Berry wanted to wear one of her designs to the premiere of the James Bond film, Die Another Day. The designer hightailed it to Sydney airport, put the dress on a plane, and days later awoke to a media circus. The dress – a short, embellished lace number with a nude lining – had been an overnight sensation because it gave the impression that Berry had, “zero underwear underneath,” Dinnigan says.
She urges fans to get to the store in Armadale quickly. “I’ve never had a sale like this before, ever,” she says. Dresses that originally sold for upwards of $1,000 have been reduced to a few hundred dollars. Her diffusion line, Collette by Collette Dinnigan, will continue for the next two seasons.
“I’m so appreciative of all the support I’ve had from everybody, and the loyalty. There are a lot of great dresses, and a lot of great stories from people, so it’s still very motivating,” she says. “I’ll definitely do something at some stage that’s creative.”
The Collette Dinnigan Boutique will close its doors for the last time on Sunday July 6 at 5pm.