Collette Dinnigan on moving to Rome, her parenting style & her new childrenswear range

Collette Dinnigan on moving to Rome, her parenting style & her new childrenswear range

“We wanted to have a different experience and put the focus on our family unit. Italy is a country both Bradley and I love. We were married in Positano and have spent many family holidays here. It was a dream come true really,” says iconic Australian fashion designer Collette Dinnigan on the decision to move her family to Rome...

She might be based in Italy, but Dinnigan is as busy and focused as ever (and not just on her Italian lessons). Her latest project is a second limited edition childrenswear range – Young Hearts by Collette Dinnigan – with grocery retailer ALDI, which features the introduction of clothing for young boys. We had a chat with Dinnigan about the new range, Italian life, her parenting style and what the future holds. Photography: Hugh Stewart | For more information, go to

What do you do when you wake up?

It’s always a whirlwind trying to get both children out the door for the 730am bus, especially as winter is almost here. After they leave I am doing emails and all the household chores before I 
head to my Italian class.

What is the best advice you’ve been given about motherhood?

Time spent with your children is not time wasted… make sure it’s quality time and your attention isn’t on work or whatever else is might be distracting you.

How would you describe your parenting style?

Inclusive, loving, with as much routine as possible.

What are your time management tips? 

Don’t put off for tomorrow what can be done today! 
I always try and be prepared for at least a few days in advance as I can’t stand not being in control of the household.

What has been the most memorable moment of motherhood for you? 

When you first hold your baby in your arms is an 
emotional moment never to be forgotten. Having my son eight years after the birth of my daughter has made me appreciate and savor even more all the different ages.

Can you tell us about your new range for ALDI and the introduction of boys wear? 

Although I wasn’t going to design another young hearts range, the last collection sold very well and the feedback was over whelming in customers asking for boys so it became a very easy decision and one that I was excited about, especially as I now have a little boy of my own.

What’s the most enjoyable part of designing childrenswear?

The colours, the mix of prints and I also think everything looks so much better when it’s smaller!

What kind of clothes do you dress your children in? 

Hunter is almost always in Young Hearts…. but Estella is a jeans and shorts girl when she is not in her jodhpurs.

How would you describe life in Rome?

The city seems very lawless, however it is very fluid and there is an order that works. We spend a lot of time at museums, galleries and just being culturally aware. The seasons are very distinct and the food seasonal. Much of Roman life is dictated by the two and makes for interesting change.

Do you think you’re born creative or it’s something you learn? 

It’s most definitely something you’re born with however it doesn’t mean it’s something you can’t appreciate and surround yourself with.

What is your approach to health and wellbeing? 

I try and eat only organic non-processed food. I am very particular about not eating food that has been genetically modified. I will try and only eat line caught fish, and where possible only eat food that is in season.

Do you exercise?

I do a lot of walking.

What was the last meal you ate?

Grilled Porcini mushrooms, salad and a glass of red wine.

How to you treat yourself?

A sleep in would be heaven.

Coffee or tea?

Rooibos tea first thing in the morning, then a latte.

Your role model is? 

My mother and father.

What is your definition of success?

Being able to have the freedom to choose where you want to live and who you want to work with.

What makes you laugh? 

My friends and family. I spend a lot of time laughing with them.

Have your children settled into the Italian way of living?

Yes they have but they are still counting the days till they are home. Estella can’t wait to be back with her horses and Hunter wants to be in the house with the Harbour Bridge!

What does 2017 hold for you?

I hope some good business opportunities.