It goes without saying that Collette Dinnigan is one of the most influential women in the Australian fashion industry. From her incredible style to her passion for work to her unparalleled business acumen, Collette has inspired me in so many ways.  

Collette’s work has been exhibited in both London and Paris, where she became the first ever Australian to launch a ‘ready-to-wear’ collection.  She was even the first Aussie to be asked by the Chamre Syndicale de la Haute Couture to show her line at Paris Fashion Week.  It’s no wonder she’s knee-deep in awards! 

I still remember back in the 90’s when Collette opened her first retail store on William Street in Paddington. I was totally enchanted by her designs. The way she was able to reconceptualise vintage forms and materials in such modern and fresh designs was so gorgeously unique… I was hooked from the get-go! 

The flowy fabrics and romantic, feminine designs became something that I’d wear on the regular. So many key moments in my life have been celebrated with a purchase from the Collette range.  As her designs evolved, I also kept finding new pieces to reflect where I was at.

Collette has been a really big influence in my working life as well.  In one interview she quotes, “I’ve never been afraid of failure… you learn and if you’re quick enough you change direction.”  This really hit home for me, as it aligned so perfectly with the way I was feeling when I made that risky career leap from finance into media. Over the years I have kept coming back to this mantra time and again, and it still holds true.

Whilst I've always loved fashion, there's no doubt that being introduced to Collette’s designs had a big influence on my future. For me, I’d always wanted to start my own fashion site, but wasn’t sure that I could juggle everything at once. Collette has always tackled a number of diverse projects - whether it's her Wild Hearts lingerie range for Target, her collaborations with the Australian Ballet for kids, or her latest - The Young Hearts for Aldi, Collette tackles each and every project with both her incredible talent and passion. She is someone I've always looked up to, who has shown that a wide and varied career in media and fashion really is possible.

My only wish is that Instagram was around back in the day to have captured me in those moments when I was wearing my first Collette dress, or my silk Collette cami. Luckily though, I can relive those moments thanks to the Collette Dinnigan: Unlaced exhibition, which opened last month at the Powerhouse Museum. I was stoked when I heard about it - this talented and inspirational Aussie could not be more deserving.  The exhibition celebrates the acclaimed designer and marks the 25th anniversary of her label.  Featuring up to 100 garments, along with some incredible digital experiences, the exhibition explores Collette’s creative process and the romantic, feminine designs that have had such a massive influence on so many of us.

To mark this incredible honour in style (of course!) we are giving you the chance to win one of two incredible prizes!

The major prize is 1 x double pass for you and a friend to attend a private, guided tour of the exhibition! Plus, you'll also receive a signed copy of Collette's coffee table book, 'Obsessive Creative' (which itself is valued at $100).

The runner up will receive 1 x double pass for you and a friend to attend a private, guided tour of the exhibition!

These prizes are pretty massive - the Powerhouse Museum are especially giving the winner an access-all-areas pass which almost never happens.

All you have to do is post a photo of yourself in your favourite Collette outfit (it can be an old photo - we love a trip down memory lane) on Instagram with the hashtag #iweardinnigan.  Make sure you tag us (@swiishbysallyo) too so that we can see your entry!

Entries close 12th November, so get snapping!




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