TO LOVE AND CHER­ISH

COL­LETTE DIN­NI­GAN’S wed­ding in Posi­tano, Italy, was an im­promptu, lowkey af­fair — much like her sim­ple but mean­ing­ful wed­ding dress, she writes

Harper’s Bazaar (Australia) - - Viewpoint -

JUST BE­FORE I MET BRADLEY [Cocks, Din­ni­gan’s hus­band], I was a sin­gle mother with a three-year-old daugh­ter and a very, very busy life. Estella and I were trav­el­ling three times a year to my store in London, to Paris, and, of­ten, New York and In­dia, and be­cause she wasn’t in school yet, she was with me all the time, by my side. I was work­ing very hard and usu­ally for a good six days a week.and then I met Bradley.

He said, “Let’s go for lunch”, and I thought, What do you mean, lunch? I’m work­ing.

Bradley loved Estella straight away — he is fan­tas­tic with chil­dren — and he be­gan to do trips with us and we’d try to work them out to­gether. If I worked on Satur­days, he’d of­ten take her swim­ming or we would go down to Mil­ton [on the New South Wales South Coast] and I would work from there.

He pro­posed to me on New Year’s Eve. We de­cided to elope and we were mar­ried in July. It felt right to me be­cause I have had so many events as­so­ci­ated with my brand, events for cus­tomers, Paris fashion weeks and so many after-par­ties. There were al­ways a lot of par­ties in my life; a lot of peo­ple and a lot of in­vi­ta­tions and name cards.

Some brides want it to be their big day, with ev­ery­one look­ing at them, but for me it was just about us. It was about in­ti­macy. And also, where do you draw the line with the guest list? Be­cause we have so many friends in the in­dus­try and I didn’t want it to be a ‘thing’. It was just me, Bradley and Estella … and David Lof­tus, who came over to pho­to­graph the wed­ding for us.at that stage, Bradley had only known him for half an hour, but he was our best man.

It wasn’t like I’d been dream­ing of a dress. I guess when you do so many wed­ding dresses you’re not that in­ter­ested in your own. Hon­estly, I wasn’t even go­ing to worry. I was go­ing to wear one of the beau­ti­ful long em­broi­dered linen dresses I al­ready had, but I am so glad now that I made some­thing a lit­tle more heir­loom. I’d been work­ing in In­dia the week be­fore, and when I told the bead­ers I was get­ting mar­ried the next week, they im­me­di­ately de­cided they had to make a dress for me. It was clear it was pretty im­pos­si­ble. But they found some of my silk tulle and old rib­bon and thought we should try to do some­thing. So we did. I spent one day in the show­room and made a pat­tern, drew it on some cal­ico and cut it up. I did my mea­sure­ments, and then they spent a whole week em­broi­der­ing it. The first time I tried it on was in Posi­tano the day be­fore the wed­ding, and you know what? It wasn’t quite right!

I had to shorten the sleeves and take it in un­der the bust overnight, and I thought the neck was too high, but, in fact, I liked that in the end. Estella wore one of my own white dresses and the dress that Alice (a friend of the fam­ily who helps with Estella) wore was a dress ac­tu­ally made for Naomi Watts, who was a brides­maid at [film pub­li­cist] Emma Cooper’s wed­ding.

When I think of my dress, I re­mem­ber it be­ing ef­fort­less, easy and com­fort­able. that day was 40 de­grees and we were all just drip­ping, I can’t tell you — it was one of those hot, windy Posi­tano days.when you’re on the coast, you can never have any­thing big and puffy and grand — I think it al­ways has to have a bit of an ethe­real qual­ity to it, and that dress has it.with all the beau­ti­ful old vin­tage rib­bons em­broi­dered on, it’s kind of time­less, in a way.

I never put my dress into pro­duc­tion. No one ever saw the dress, so no one ever knew it ex­isted. I have kept it, though. [The dress was part of the re­cent ex­hi­bi­tion Love Is … at Pow­er­house Mu­seum in Syd­ney.] I’m not sure Estella will want to wear it — she’s not into dresses right now, but I have kept a few I think maybe she might like one day.the whole idea was that Estella was right there, as part of the cel­e­bra­tion, not just Bradley and I.WE let her choose the wed­ding cake — Nutella cake — and although she had never been al­lowed lemon­ade, she had a bot­tle that day, I had a bot­tle of Dom Pérignon and Bradley had his bot­tle of Ruinart.

Af­ter­wards, we got changed in the toi­lets in the town hall, walked down the stairs, got on a beau­ti­ful boat and went on to Fon­telina in Capri for lunch. We went swim­ming in the grotto, jump­ing off the side of the boat, and it was all com­pletely au­then­tic, with big bowls of spaghetti bolog­nese for lunch. It was just all our favourite things in life, and we couldn’t have been happier. It couldn’t have been bet­ter — or more re­laxed.

“When you’re on the coast, you can never have any­thing big and puffy and grand — I think [the dress] al­ways has to have a bit of an ethe­real qual­ity to it.”

Fashion de­signer Col­lette Din­ni­gan, wear­ing a dress of her own de­sign, on her wed­ding day with hus­band Bradley Cocks and daugh­ter Estella.

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