Renowned for her red carpet and lace creations, Australia’s most famous fashion designer is now concentrating on the interiors side of her business
After having an A-list clientele that included Angelina Jolie, Nicole Kidman and the Duchess of Cambridge, designer Collette Dinnigan closed the fashion side of the business in 2013. Since then she has been immersing herself in her interior design and has also designed a range of wallpapers for Porter’s Paints. Born in South Africa, she is now married to hotelier Bradley Cocks and has a 12 year old daughter, Estella, and a three year-old son, Hunter. Though based in a former Masonic lodge overlooking Sydney Harbour, for the past year the family have been taking a year out in Rome.
How did the switch from fashion to interiors come about?
It wasn’t really a switch as I have always been passionate about interiors and furnishings in my private life. I’ve since transitioned this to a more professional level as I have been approached to do several projects.
Do you go about interior design in a similar way to fashion?
Yes, it’s easy to move from fashion to interiors, I can’t say it would be the same the other way around. For me it’s about proportion, colour, texture, quality and detail.
Would you say your interiors echo the style and vibe of your fashion creations?
Yes. My signature is feminine, yet strong, with a modern edge. I design with a sense of romance, always wanting a space to have a modern edge. Most importantly it needs to feel effortless and comfortable.
Where do you find your inspiration?
From where I dream to go, usually a place from a long time ago. Sometimes when I travel and visit places I dream of, I am really disappointed as they were not as I thought they would be. I love texture and colour and often a colour palette will inspire me more than anything.
What materials do you prefer to work with?
Natural fabrics - linen, silk and wool in particular. I also love Carrara marble, zinc, copper and reclaimed timber. I guess for me if its natural it only gets better over time.
We hear you like to cook. What sort of food?
I love local, organic, paddock-toplate food. I say it’s simple, but really it takes time and I love to cook a good meal. I enjoy Italian with a touch of spice.
So what is your kitchen like?
I have three kitchens so I’m spoilt! One is for when we have many friends for dinner, so it’s of a much larger scale, and another is for our breakfasts and lunches. The other is in the country where we have a pizza oven.
Do you have any strong opinions about bathrooms?
Apart from looking good it needs good bench space, to be practical, with quality taps and practical storage as well as underfloor heating for winter.
What would your dream bathroom look like?
It would be completely private, but also have an outdoor aspect... maybe on top of a cliff with an amazing vista. I think bathrooms can be treated as a hallway cupboard but I think they should be given as much priority as a bedroom.
Do you have favourite pieces at home?
My Guy Maestri dugong painting, which was the first significant art purchase I made, and my old crystal glass collection. Also, my dining table from an old cheese factory in Denmark – and our silver chairs from a maharajas palace in India.
Any ideas for your son Hunter’s room?
It has to be blue and all about cars and boats, as we will definitely be inspired by our travels when we get home.
Lead image: Hugh Stewart
Middle images: Felix Forest
Bottom images: Hugh Stewart
Article by: Susan Springate