Fashion designer Collette Dinnigan has achieved a lot in her 30-year career but being included on the Queen’s Birthday Honours list, she says, is one of the biggest things to have happened to her.
The New Zealander has been appointed an Officer (AO) in the General Division for her work as a designer and entrepreneur, but also as a supporter and promoter of Australian wool, and for being a role model to other women.
“It suddenly makes me feel a bit older,” Dinnigan told AAP.
“I always feel like I’m still so playful and full of adventure and I don’t feel old at all.
“You don’t get something as recognisable as this bestowed upon you when you’re a youth, it takes time to actually accomplish what I did.
“Sometimes you think you might get accolades within your industry but not something from the country.”
But it is the country that has honoured her, a country she has called home since the early 90s and whose wool she has championed.
“I wouldn’t choose to live in Australia if I wasn’t proud of Australia and what Australians do,” she said.
“Many years ago I was on the board of the South Australian wool board and I was a firm believer of working with the best, and I think Woolmark now is recognised as the finest wool in the world and it’s used by the top designers.”
Dinnigan is joined on the honours list by fellow fashion designer George Gross and his twin sister Kathy Gross.
George Gross, who established a fashion label in Adelaide in 1973 alongside Harry Watt, dressed Princess Diana and co-designed the Qantas uniform in 1994.
Gross has been appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in the General Division for his work in the fashion industry, as has his sister, a co-director of their company.
Both are also being honoured for their support of several charities including MS Research Australia, Junior Diabetes Research Foundation and Gut Foundation of Australia.