Since closing her ready-to-wear business at the end of 2013 Collette Dinnigan has been sorely missed on the Australian fashion scene, with no label managing to match her mix of sophisticated and commercially-savvy glamour.
In the past four years, between trips to Italy to check on her new farmhouse, the designer has ignored calls from women in search of red carpet outfits to return to her former calling, instead exploring childrenswear with her own line and with Aldi.
Then there has been her collection for optical giant Specasavers, alongside Ellery, Kylie Minogue and Alex Perry, which leads to her latest business venture.
“It has been brewing for a while,” Dinnigan, 51, says of the new collaboration. “I’ve had a few children’s projects and my daughter Estella wears glasses, so it’s been close to my heart.”
The business brain identified the market between young girls in search of plastic pink spectacles or Frozen-themed frames.
“Glasses are still important for young girls who want something that appeals to them but still needs to be versatile,” she says. “It’s not like designing for a woman who has frames for work and then for going out and perhaps a spare set lying around. These have to good for school, home and time with friends.”
The collection consists of seven frames featuring checkerboard prints, spots and flower designs and is available in Specasaver stores from September 14, priced from $199 for two single vision pairs.
“We saw a gap in the market when parents and young spec wearers were calling out to see more stylish and unique frames in the younger age bracket,” says Specsavers head of frames Juan Carlos Camargo.
“I believe the Collette Dinnigan kids eyewear range truly responds to what our customers have been looking for and I’m excited to see the response when the frames become available in stores.”
Now that Estella has turned 13-years-old, she has graduated to Mum’s more mature collection for Specsavers. “They’re a simple black frame, a bit more mature but quite frankly all she cares about is horses. I was the same at that age.”
If Estella continues on the same path as her mother, success is undoubtedly ahead in her line of vision.