By Alison Voight
Mark it in the diary fashionistas – the first exhibition to celebrate trailblazing fashion designer Collette Dinnigan opens this weekend at Sydney’s Powerhouse Museum. Almost 2 years in the making, Collette Dinnigan: Unlaced is a dynamic display of the designer’s signature styles and creative process. With Collette herself closely involved with the project as creative partner, look forward to a unique insight into her inspirations and evolution as a designer.
Dinnigan fans won’t be disappointed with the beautiful collection of garments showcased, from glamorous ready to wear dresses shown at Paris and New York Fashion Week, to dazzling embellished evening wear sought by Hollywood’s A list. Featuring ensembles, accessories and archival material from the Museum’s collection and Dinnigan’s personal archive, the exhibition portrays her romantic, feminine design aesthetic in a series of striking themed sets.
Opening with bridal wear, the designer’s meticulous attention to artistry is evident. Hand embroidered and appliquéd floral motifs impressively adorn the bodice of a rustic French inspired wedding dress, while an art deco inspired gown wows with its elegant beaded detailing.
Dinnigan’s signature use of lace is referenced, a nod to her early beginnings in lingerie design in the 90s and her use of unique French lace finishings in evening wear.
A virtual catwalk adds an engaging element to the impressive 100 garments displayed, pulled from retrospective red carpet to resort collections.
Realised by award winning stage designer and artist Anna Tregloan, the themed sets aim to depict the creative perspective of Dinnigan – from the glitzy opulence of dressing the celebrity set, to a whimsical depiction of her children’s Enfant launch inspired by the birth of her daughter.
Fashion fans will enjoy reading about Collette’s shifting influences and the origins of iconic designs such as the River Snowflake Dress (After reading her daughter The Snow Queen, Dinnigan designed the dress to appear covered in shimmering snowflakes). In editing over 25 years of archival materials for the exhibition, Collette said she aimed to “show what fashion is about – it’s about change and there’s not necessarily just a chronological order of what I’ve done, it’s much more emotive.”
All images via Voight Photography and Design