Great design always starts with colour, according to Australia’s iconic fashion designer, Collette Dinnigan, whose fashion has been worn by the likes of Princess Mary of Denmark, the Duchess of Cambridge, Nicole Kidman, Angelina Jollie, and Beyonce.
Ms. Dinnigan was the guest of honour at the public opening of Specsavers’ largest store in Sydney, located at the METCentre on George Street. She was welcomed by Sasha Kempen, Retail Director of the expansive new store, which has been designed to Specsavers’ new specifications and features five testing rooms, 12 dispensing desks and a stand up contact lens area.
Ms. Dinnigan spoke about her approach to design, which starts with creating mood boards that explore colour, before using pen and paper to play with shapes and finishes. “I love good design and attention to detail … it’s not necessarily about the embellishment; it’s about the shape, the proportions and the colours.”
Italian Vintage Inspired New Collection
Describing the evolution of her new collection, to be launched in October, she said it was designed during a year spent in Italy, and reflects “everything that felt elegant and glamorous, presented in an understated way”. While in Italy, Ms. Dinnigan visited numerous vintage markets as well as Mido in Milan for inspiration. Vintage fabrics, the claws of a piece of jewellery, a string of pearls, a vintage button – these all provided inspiration for the colours and finishes of her frames.
Her new collection features boldly shaped sunglasses, predominantly produced in black acetates, while the optical frames are mostly produced from transparent acetates with a hint of pink.
Ms. Dinnigan said she takes a strong interest in the development of prototypes and the selection of the final frames that form her collection – which will usually number six from a total of about 30 initial designs. “I’ll get shapes back with different ideas and colours and we’ll play around with them, it’s a very long process over about two years… This is not about someone designing a collection and putting my name to it. My collection is authentic and original.”
Ms. Dinnigan said quality is also her priority. “ I won’t let anything go out if the quality is not great, and over the years the quality has become better… quality control and despatch in theSpecsavers factory in Melbourne is amazing.”
On Styling Patients
When helping patients select eyewear, Ms. Dinnigan said it is important to steer them away from a celebrity or icon whose style they want to emulate and instead encourage them to find a frame they feel most comfortable and confident wearing. “Ask, does the style make you feel good and confident or does it make you feel awkward… do you feel as if you can face the world, or as if you’re about to go out to a party or the opera, and is that appropriate?… if she feels good, that’s always a very good indicator.”