collette dinnigan

image credit: Holly Blake/Vogue Australia


Collette Dinnigan is a woman’s designer. Her clothes and underwear creations are always very feminine, fun and romantic. The Powerhouse Museum is currently hosting an exhibition about this acclaimed fashion designer, who is celebrating 25 years in the industry. Ultimately, this is an accessible and dynamic look at one inspirational creator and her wares.

The exhibition is divided up into a series of rooms. In one section patrons can watch a two hour video, which shows excerpts from her catwalk shows as well as a documentary. In another part, kids can sit down and colour-in worksheets to design their own clothes and make models. They can certainly draw some inspiration from Dinnigan herself, as a special room has been imagined and installed by the designer. This is a particular highlight and draws together the countless amount of research, sketches and hours of concept development as well as other things that have consciously or unconsciously shaped her work.

There are also plenty of outfits. One room showcases three different wedding gowns while another looks at the influence of Asian and floral themes on Dinnigan. There’s some special red carpet designs featuring outfits that have been worn by none other than Erin McNaught, Taylor Swift, Miranda Kerr and others. These all have a real “wow” factor as they feature lots of intricate beading and sequins coupled with classic designs.

There is a small section dedicated to Dinnigan’s children’s range (which she launched after the birth of her daughter, Estella). There is also a large room where 100 outfits that span Dinnigan’s career are displayed alongside videos of models walking towards you (as if on a catwalk). This is also accompanied by a hip, rock soundtrack in the background that screams “cool”.

Collette Dinnigan: Unlaced does a great job at celebrating her many inspirations: colour, art, travel, flowers, landscapes and details from vintage clothes and antique things. It also shows how dedicated she is to using the medium of lace, by working with families that have been doing this for generations and still remaining innovative and coming up with fresh, new ideas. One of these was when Dinnigan re-imagined underwear as outerwear. And while some people may find this a bit too out-there it is always done in a tasteful and stylish way.

In all, this exhibition is a testament to this adventurous, determined and successful designer and celebrates this woman in all her dazzling glory. The exhibition is realised by award-winning stage designer and artist, Anna Tregloan and features archive material from Dinnigan as well as the Powerhouse’s own collection. It’s a colourful tribute to an inspiring woman and an important look at some things that should not remain stuck in the closet.

Collette Dinnigan: Unlaced is on at the Powerhouse Museum from September 5, 2015 to August 28, 2016. For more information, go to:


Originally published on 14 September 2015 at the following website:

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