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Date with Kate, Fashion

Date with Kate: Collette Dinnigan

20th September, 2015
Lunch with Collette Dinnigan at Alimentari in paddington. Photo: Edwina Pickles.

Lunch with Collette Dinnigan at Alimentari in paddington. Photo: Edwina Pickles.


One of Australia’s most successful fashion designers, Collette Dinnigan​ has been an icon of Australian fashion since the early ’90s. When she announced two years ago she was quitting it all, the industry was stunned. Since then, Dinnigan continues designing her children’s line, Enfant, as well as a lingerie collection for Target, Collette Dinnigan Wild Hearts, which launches in stores on September 24. A retrospective exhibition reflecting 25 years of her achievements, Collette Dinnigan: Unlaced, is on at Sydney’s Powerhouse Museum until August next year. Dinnigan talked to me about her lingerie designs, life after scaling back her business and why she’s been feeling busier than ever.

Tell me about your new lingerie range. 

I did the Wild Hearts collection [for Target] in 2008 and then they approached me to do it again. So I thought, you know what, especially after I decided not to do Paris [and my main collection], it’s a good thing to do. It’s great because it’s so affordable and so accessible to people and still really good quality.

What can people expect to see?

The collection is pretty feminine. It’s practical lingerie, but with a very feminine aesthetic and lots of detail, fine prints and embroideries. It’s very womanly and anyone from 20 to 60 can be wearing it. You don’t feel like you’re too sophisticated wearing a grown-up brand or you don’t feel like you have to be 14 years old with those kind of perky little bottoms!

What is a day in the life of Collette Dinnigan? 

Oh my god, well now it’s a bit different. The last three or four months, it has been seven days a week doing the museum [exhibition] as well as doing the lingerie [collection], and also I just did some interiors for a hotel, Bannisters down in Mollymook [on the NSW South Coast] – the haute couture penthouse suites. It was great. I love interiors. And my book [Obsessive Creative] went on sale in May/June in America as well. It has actually been extremely busy – busier than doing Paris [runway shows]!

Tell me about your involvement with the exhibition Collette Dinnigan: Unlaced.

I have been curating with Glynis [Jones of the Powerhouse], we’ve got more than a thousand pieces of clothing in our collection. It was a selection process of what they wanted in the exhibition and what I also envisaged. The museum wanted things that were much more, I guess, dictated by monumental milestones in my career, but I was very hands-on and it’s not just a collection of clothes. It’s also about my inspirations. It takes people on a journey. I wanted it to be younger. So that’s why we created the catwalk, which is a live catwalk we filmed. So you could see the clothes standing there, as well as the girls walking to you.

How do you feel when you look through all your archives?

It’s an emotional journey because every dress has a story. If you’re a woman and you have a dress, you can remember the dress you met your husband in or you can remember the night that you had the best party. I think going through the boxes and taking everything out for me was emotional as all the dresses had so many stories.

Do you have a favourite piece in your archives? 

I think my last collection. Even though it’s pretty recent – a year and a half ago – most of those pieces, to me, stand the test time.

Was it a tough decision to scale back your business? 

It was really emotional for me and I made that decision on my own because I felt like I didn’t want [my husband] Bradley [Cocks] to be involved or ever have any responsibility talking me into it. But I felt quite liberated because I felt I wasn’t pushed into a financial decision. I felt I had achieved a lot in my career. I think when my book came out, that’s what made me think, “I’ve done all of this.” I had so many other things like interiors I wanted to do and just spending time with the children and being there and able to do things rather than always, every school holidays in January, I’m in the studio making the next collection, or September holidays I’m always off to Paris [for the shows]. So that was kind of really the deciding line.

You said that you scaled back to have time with the family. Are you able to get more quality time with them now?

You know what I do is – I’m still very busy but I get to control the time. I can go down to a farm for the holidays and we’re all there together.

Do you ever miss creating those beautiful gowns and wedding dresses? 

No! I feel like, working with the museum, I’ve been doing collection after collection because I’ve been bringing them out of the boxes and restyling and putting them on the mannequins. I feel like I’m living fashion more than I ever have before because it has been in front of me for a whole year.

Do you still get many people requesting you to design their wedding dress?


Do you ever make any exceptions?

No, no. Because when you stop, you stop everything. You need that infrastructure. I still have my studio set up with sewing machines and fitting tables and things, but you either do it all or you don’t do any.

Your daughter will have an amazing wardrobe when she grows up! 

Oh yes, but she is so disinterested. Getting her to wear a skirt to the opening night of the exhibition, oh my god! She is more interested in horses. It’s like the cobbler son doesn’t have any shoes!

Do you have a career highlight? 

I definitely think making the decision to show in Paris was something that drove the business. Also, The Victoria & Albert: doing the show there in 2000 and opening my store in London, I think that was a huge achievement. I had the store there for 14 years. I guess being acknowledged by some of the big fashion luminaries and editors like Glenda Baileys and Anna Wintours, I think that’s sort of a huge testament to the brand. I think those are my career milestones.

Have you seen the industry change over all these years?

Oh my god [yes]. I can remember shows in Paris; you had to be accredited by Shaun Alexander if you’re a photographer. You had to have an official pass. You weren’t allowed to release any images for three months until Vogue and all the publications came out because they were the first. Then, after that, that’s when you release the collection into store. Whereas now, there are live streaming shows. They’ve already made the collections. There’s no surprise, there is no kind of anticipation of what’s happening because you see everything live. There’s so much at once. It’s so commercialised.

What do you do for fun?

We’re usually at the farm in my vegetable garden. I cook a lot or just go along the beach – just opposite end of the spectrum [to fashion]. Not at all city living. It’s very much about country and beach and family.
WE WENT TO Alimentari cafe, Paddington.

WE ATE Tuna nicoise salad

WE DRANK Tea and coffee.

COLLETTE WORE Collette Dinnigan.

I WORE a Bec & Bridge jacket and Skin and Threads jeans.

Date with Kate, Fashion

Date with Kate: Dion Lee

25th June, 2015
Lunch with Dion Lee

Lunch with Dion Lee

Dion Lee is one of the most exciting and sought after designers in Australian fashion and is releasing a one-off women’s collection for Target on July 2. I caught up with Lee to chat about the Dion Lee for Target range, his design process and aspirations to pursue film or sculpture.

How did your collaboration with Target come about? 

Target approached me about doing collaboration about a year ago … I was considering how I would approach something like this and I was quite drawn to a performance-wear range, something that was quite athletic and incorporated a lot of the technical fabrications that I have within the collection, but doing it in a way that felt accessible and easy to the Target customer.

What is your design process? 

It’s quite different for each collection. I suppose you are designing all the time and you are constantly seeing things when you travel. I try to explain to people that it’s kind of the collage that is going on in your head. You’re always inspired by new films, art, culture, and you are responding to what people around you are wearing and I suppose it’s the ideas that come from that.

Does the process differ when you are designing a collection for Target, compared to your own main line? 

It’s very different compared to when designing for our main-line runway collection because [my main line] is a very specific product and is really about exploring each idea as beautifully and as elevated as we can, and this was about designing a product that is as inclusive as possible and speaking to a much broader audience. So there was a lot more consideration about the fabric, body shape and other things that all had to be taken into account.

Do you still get nervous when launching a new collection?

I do, definitely! And I think for this, it was a new capsule and something that I hadn’t done before so it did still feel that nervous process.

Is it just a capsule collection or will it continue?

It is just a capsule collection; it’s only in store for four weeks. But I’ve really enjoyed this category so I am open to what might happen.

You’re joined a long list of esteemed designers who have collaborated with Target, including Missoni, Roberto Cavalli and Stella McCartney. Do you expect a stampede when it hits stores?

[Laughs] I’m not sure, I suppose I hope so but I don’t think I’ll be going into store to watch!

What is a woman’s ultimate wardrobe essential?

A tailored black blazer is the most important element to a woman’s wardrobe. It’s a classic piece that works back with everything.

When you were younger did you always envisage your life the way it is today? 

Definitely not. I think that the past few years have been pretty crazy and the brand is continuing to grow. I think the next thing for me is to continue to build the international business and spending more time overseas. I’m really excited about what’s next.

What are your plans internationally?

We are continuing to show in New York, which is really strong market for us, so it’s important to spend more time there and support the growth there.

Do you have plans to expand into other lines within your business? 

Yes, definitely. We are working on accessories at the moment: eyewear, a shoe collection and also some other projects that I can’t talk about just yet. And I would love to work on men’s wear eventually. I’m just waiting on the right time to do that. It’s almost like a new business and I would need a whole team to manage that.

If you could dress anyone in your designs, who would it be?

I’d love to one day dress Cate Blanchett in the collection.

Your designs have been seen in the pages of American Vogue. What’s it like when you have to show your collection to Anna Wintour – is that daunting? 

Yes, it’s very daunting [laughs]. I still get very nervous in those situations. I think that I am becoming more comfortable in those scenarios but it definitely takes some practice. It’s never not scary [laughs]!

What is she like? 

She has a very intelligent perspective view on fashion and was very interested in speaking about my business and where my clothes were made and getting a real understanding to what kind of designer I was. She comes at it from a business perspective, which is great. You can see that from all the American designers she has supported; she’s very good at foresting them as really strong businesses.

Where do you see yourself in five years’ time? 

Hopefully working between Australia and New York and continuing to work with new and exciting people and continuing to be really inspired by what I’m doing.

What do you do in your spare time?

I always try and do something that takes me away from my work. I try and go away a bit and make the most of my weekends. I went to Tasmania a couple of weekends ago and New Zealand a few weeks before that. I just try to explore and go to new places and do some hiking.

If you didn’t become a designer, what would you have done? 

I would have explored film and potentially explored directing. I really love the creative-direction elements of my role … and trying to convey a strong feeling, and would love to explore that in film.

Will you ever pursue directing? 

Yes, I would definitely love to do that. Film or sculpture, I would definitely love another creative profession that allowed me to explore the ideas [that I have] in a different way.

What are some of your favourite films?

I love  Michel Gondry films. He’s a French director, his films are often very abstract and, I suppose, surreal in ways, and I love things that mix an element of things that are quite realistic with techniques that are quite abstract and surreal.



WE WENT TO La Porte Space, Waterloo.

WE ATE a selection of cakes and pastries.

WE DRANK coffee and tea

DION WORE Nike shoes, Acne jeans and Cos sweater.

I WORE Christopher Esber skirt and top.

See behind the scenes from this interview on Fashion Bloggers on tonight at 9:30pm on Foxtel’s E! channel.


Dion Lee x Target

25th June, 2015



Ever since Dion Lee first made his fashion debut he’s released one impressive collection after another. His fashion collaboration with Target is no different. The entire collection features elements of Dion’s signature style with laser cut pieces and plenty of clean lines. It’s quintessential Dion Lee at a very reasonable price point. The collection is out now but you can catch a sneak peek below. Run, don’t walk!

P.S. You can catch my interview with Dion on tonight’s episode of Fashion Bloggers. Tune in at 9.30pm tonight on E!










Date with Kate, Fashion

Date with Kate: Jess Mauboy

25th May, 2015
Lunch with Jess Mauboy

Lunch with Jess Mauboy


Jessica Mauboy​ has come far since being runner-up on Australian Idol in 2006. She has won ARIA Awards and taken on acting roles from the film Bran Nue Dae to television series The Laundry. The singer, 25, is currently recording a new album and was this week named an ambassador for Target women’s clothing. She chats to me about her writing process, aspirations of working with Prince and how her dream guy, Themeli Magripilis, keeps her grounded.

You’re recording your next studio album. What is the writing process for you? 

I like to be locked in a studio, whether it be with creating the melody and sitting at the piano or whether it be writing the lyrics.

Has writing always come naturally to you? 

At the age of 16, I started writing. Before that, it wasn’t really flowing. It was something that I was very embarrassed about and I kept it to myself. I started to really embrace and share my thoughts in the studio, and it really helped me to not be afraid of whether [my lyrics] sounded silly or not. It was just getting over the fact that anything could be turned into something amazing if you just allowed it to be. Writing is definitely so important to me. I think as a career it has really supported me in terms of living. I really love writing.

Do you prefer the writing or the performing side? 

Oh, that’s a tough one. I must say they’re equally both amazing. I find, when I’m on stage, I’m slightly a cheekier performer, so I like to have a bit of wit about my performance and have a bit of a joke and have a bit of a play and invite the crowd to have a dance and embrace their movements.

Congratulations on your ambassador role with Target. Do you feel as if your style has evolved over the years?

Oh, hugely. A massive amount has changed in terms of [my] style. I’ve really taken style on with the journey of my music … When I’m creating music, I like to collaborate with style, so if I’m singing an upbeat song, I like a bit of texture or some kind of colour or sparkle to it. Then, when I’m singing something that’s quite mellow, I like to wear something quite structured that doesn’t move too much. So I like to wear something that really represents the music.

You must get asked to represent so many brands. How do you choose what you align yourself with? 

Obviously, with Target, growing up in Darwin, it was pretty much the hangout spot. My girlfriends would be like, “I’m heading out to Target. Are you girls going to come?” And then, next minute I’m trying on jeans and a basic top. So I guess, to be the face of something that’s really community oriented, that means a lot to me, and growing up with the brand, I feel very close with it. It feels like a family.

When you were younger and living in Darwin, did you ever envisage your life to be the way it is today? 

No, I never really saw it turning out this way. I think I always dreamt. I always saw a stage, but never did I expect to go obviously this far. I always thought I was going to be a community worker and be really involved with youth, which I am, in fact, now with the music. [Music] allows me to still be able to get out there and do a lot of community service and work with kids and do music workshops and stuff like that.

During your career, what has been your biggest pinch-me moment? 

Meeting Mariah [Carey]. She is someone that I look up to very dearly as a vocalist and I’ve always related to her music, her sound … [She is] 46 and still hitting her high notes and producing and writing. I think her credibility in writing is definitely somewhere I want to be as a long-term career path.

Who would you like to collaborate with?

My dream collaboration would definitely be Prince. He has a one of those sounds you can pick it’s him. It’s the bass, it’s that high-pitch vocal that he does, as well as his funk beat.

What’s the best part about your job? 

I think the best part is being able to create something from scratch, from raw vocals to then creating rhythm and then creating melody. I love the process of creating music.

What’s the worst part? 

I think travelling on my own. Sometimes the travel does get lonely when you have to do long trips.

How do you juggle a long-term relationship with all your work? 

I’ve been with my boyfriend for seven years, so we’ve done the long-distance thing. It’s important to make time. I guess honesty comes down to it all, really. You go away and realise that person has so much patience and respect for what you do and you want to give that back the same way. So, treating someone the way you would like to be treated is definitely the mantra for me. He is my dream guy. He puts up with a lot!

He’s a lucky man! 

Yeah. He is a great guy and obviously someone who has come from the same background as me. We grew up in the same town and we understand each other culturally and personally. The kind of job that I do, I’m always flying around, so it’s always bringing different personalities out of me. He knows how to kind of go, “OK, calm down. Where is Jessica?” I think that’s one of the things I really love. He really does bring me back to earth and makes me feel really comfortable about myself, no matter what I’m wearing or what I look like, and he makes me work harder.

What would be your advice to young girls starting out in music? 

For me, to be honest, I always knew that I wanted to sing, and it was something that as an 11-year-old I was already performing and knew exactly what I wanted to do, but yet [I] didn’t know the business side of it, didn’t know how to kind of get in there, so it’s about getting out there.

Australian Idol was a huge stepping stone. Do you think you would be where you are today without it? 

Idol was definitely a huge show, and I wouldn’t have done it. Thank goodness for my parents, who saw the passion in me to sing and almost forced me to [audition]. I think without it, it wouldn’t have happened that quickly. So thank goodness for Idol for teaching me the ropes and educating me really about music and the business side of it.

Where do you see yourself in five years? 

Singing and doing a show in Madison Square Garden.


WE WENT TO Vine Restaurant, Double Bay.

WE ATE oysters; sashimi of tuna; smoked duck break with fioe gras, chestnut, mandarin & hazelnut; Fagotelli with pumpkin, tallegio, mushroom, asparagus and yarrow.

WE DRANK Laurent Perrier Champagne.

JESS WORE Target dress and jacket.

I WORE a Bec & Bridge dress

Date with Kate

Date with Kate: Dannii Minogue

10th August, 2014
Lunch with Dannii Minogue

Lunch with Dannii Minogue

Dannii Minogue has teamed with Target for her latest collaboration: a clothing line catering for petite women. I caught up with the singer-songwriter and X Factor Australia judge to chat about the new fashion range, her mentoring advice to her sister, Kylie, and getting back into the recording studio.

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Autumn/Winter Essentials

16th April, 2014

Autumn is here and if you are looking for some winter essentials and don’t want to spend a fortune updating your wardrobe then here are some affordable options. I recently attended the VAMFF ‘Target Rocks The Runway’ event where they had some really great pieces on the runway that you could incorporate into your winter wardrobe and won’t cost you an arm and a leg! Here are some of my must-have items that can be mixed and matched for all occasions.

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Fashion, Social

Target Rocks The Runway

31st March, 2014


One of the highlights of the Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival was the Target Rocks the Runway show. Collections from Target Essentials, Hot Options and Free Fusion were all showcased on the runway as well as, Dannii Minogue Petites for Target, which made its debut on the catwalk.

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