Collette Dinnigan Channels Her Dark Side

March 5, 2013

Courtesy of Collette Dinnigan

Courtesy of Collette Dinnigan

Collette Dinnigan’s Fall 2013 Ready-to-Wear collection at Paris Fashion Week crossed over to the dark side. In Hotel Le Meurice’s Royal Suite penthouse, the Australian designer’s collection showcased her signature lace designs and feminine silhouettes in an inky black palette featuring pops of silver and white, revealing lace and intricate leather appliqués.

Dinnigan’s balancing act between the demure and daring stems from the title of her collection, “The Incredible Lightness of Being,” a book and 1988 film about a love triangle set in late 1960s Czechoslovakia starring Daniel Day-Lewis. In a memorable scene, his sexually liberated mistress (Lena Olin) wears black lace lingerie while on all fours on top of a mirror. In contrast, Juliette Binoche plays his young and gentle wife, a pure polar opposite.

Dinnigan fully captured the dichotomy of the women with a coquettish black Chantilly lace dress with a see-through fit-and-flare silhouette that reveals black high-waisted bloomers—a frock that looks nearly tailor-made for the sleek ingénue Rooney Mara.

Courtesy of Collette Dinnigan

Courtesy of Collette Dinnigan

A few standout blouses feature intricate patterns of black leather appliqués that look like lace from afar. Narrow strips of leather and a leather belt add stunning detail on the bodice of a black wool jacket paired with a sequin-embellished A-line skirt. Dinnigan, who partnered with Woolmark, filled out the collection with floor-grazing skirts and slinky black wool dresses that oozed elegance on top of black patent leather Christian Louboutin pumps.

Courtesy of Collette Dinnigan

Courtesy of Collette Dinnigan

While Dinnigan showed several dresses worthy of the red carpet—including a couple of beaded Art Deco sheaths—the collection’s wow moment was a curve-skimming French lace dress in pale gold. While the shallow boat-neck collar, long sleeves and knee-length hem offered modesty, the lace’s Swiss cheese effect offered endless glimpses of skin underneath.

Courtesy of Collette Dinnigan

Courtesy of Collette Dinnigan

A refreshing moment arrived with a delicate, shimmery blush dress featuring exquisite beadwork and a dropped-waist skirt made of peek-a-boo lattice lace. But of the collection’s lighter fare, two doily-meets-bridal dresses with chaste white lace appliqués seemed out of step.

Courtesy of Collette Dinnigan

Courtesy of Collette Dinnigan

Overall it was a strong and steady collection from Dinnigan, who by the way gave birth to her son nearly four months ago. Tough yet feminine, the clothes speak to the complexities of women—on both light and dark days.

Courtesy of Collette Dinnigan

Courtesy of Collette Dinnigan