SYDNEY — Two years after Collette Dinningan shuttered her premium line, her fashion career is to be the focus of the first exhibition at the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences’ newly minted Centre for Fashion at the Powerhouse Museum here.
Running from Saturday through Aug. 28, 2016, “Collette Dinnigan: Unlaced” charts her 25-year career that started in 1990 with a dry clean-only silk lingerie collection featuring delicate antique French lace trims and five years later saw her become the first Australian designer invited by the Chambre Syndicale to show on the Paris ready-to-wear schedule.
Running more than 7,000 square feet and designed by Anna Tregloan, the exhibition is cocurated by Dinnigan and Glynis Jones, the Powerhouse Museum’s curator of fashion and dress, and showcases more than 100 items, from lingerie to ready-to-wear, resort wear and bridalwear.
One section is dedicated to the designer’s signature lace and embellished cocktailwear, which was popular with celebrities such as Taylor Swift, Nicole Kidman, Charlize Theron, Angelina Jolie, Naomi Watts and Halle Berry.
The Centre for Fashion was designed as a dedicated showcase for MAAS’ extensive fashion archive, which includes more than 30,000 garments that have been collected since the museum was founded in 1890.
“We wanted to work with an Australian fashion designer to really launch the center, instead of bringing in an international — we felt it was extremely important to have one of Australia’s most creative talents working with us,” said MAAS director Rose Hiscock, of the decision to approach Dinnigan two years ago as the subject of the Centre’s first show. Five other galleries, both Australian and offshore, have expressed interest in running the show, she said.
While Dinnigan’s main line and retail stores in Sydney, Melbourne and London were shuttered so that she could focus on more time with her young family, ongoing projects include an optical line through Specsavers, the Collette Dinnigan Enfant children’s wear line, which is exclusively sold through Australia’s David Jones department store chain and the imminent revival of her Wild Hearts by Collette Dinnigan lingerie collection. Launched originally at Marks & Spencer in London in 2001, the line will be available exclusively through Target Australia from Sept. 24.
Wild Hearts might not be the only relaunch, she hinted.
“Anything is possible,” said Dinnigan, about the prospect of a runway revival at some stage. “There were so many different things that made my mind up to do what I did and I don’t think it’s a closing of the door. There are a lot of other possibilities and things are happening and things are very positive with the lingerie coming out and I know everyone is so looking forward to that. It’s a whole different world now. Let’s just wait and see.”