Australian concept boutique Dilettante is Diana Paolucci’s edgy answer to fashion and interior design. Dilettante is a reflection of Paolucci’s universal yet unique taste, which was inaugurated by a trip to Paris where Diana approached its fashion giants. Going to Paris without any major contacts in the industry, Diana credits her mother Sylvia’s style and elegance in lending her confidence during this trip, which has given birth to a global boutique.
Paolucci, a TAFE fashion textiles graduate, had an early founding in high-end fashion design. Travelling young and occasional visits to high-end stores around the world exposed her to the styles of many top designers, which have undoubtedly fashioned a familiarity to high-end tastes.
Dilettante seeks heterogeneity of clothing construction and quality outside of Perth, which it finds in abundance internationally. For Paolucci, meeting European fashion greats have become much less intimidating and more of a regularity, where travelling to Paris and Milan four times a year to view fashion weeks is a must. As buyer and director of the edgy fashion house, Paolucci spends her time in these places attending runway shows, exploring luxury fabrics, selecting collections and observing new trends, all to bring back to Perth.
Diana Paolucci’s intimate knowledge of designer fashion collided with her love of retail. Dilettante’s brick-and-mortar flagship store opened in 2007, with an interior design of exposed bricks and warm lights influenced by the rich, dark and antique elements of a 1920’s house Diana used to live in.
Paolucci’s personal life catalysed changes to Dilettante’s interior concept, and also reflected a personal transition to declutter her life. A two-month renovation undertaken by Diana and her father Ray saw Dilettante’s walls transformed into peaceful and white industrial panels, embellished with gilt mirrors and vertical fluorescent lights.
A major part of the interior redesign was a collaboration with Jen Lowe of Ohlo Studio. The fit-outs were monumental concrete-looking structures actually made out of compressed Styrofoam, inspired by Claire Peake’s sculptures. The interior also features commissioned furniture pieces by local artist Georgia Kaw.
First and foremost, Dilettante presents brands of quality. Functionality and aesthetics come within this criterion. Always having its clients in mind, the boutique looks beyond fast social media or street style blogging fads, and more into long-lasting style personalities and tastes. As a result, Dilettante presents American, Australian, European, Chinese and Japanese brands which produce a variety of styles ranging from street to eclectic to classic. Dilettante’s client base is equally diverse in both nationality and age. They’ve recently put one of their most cherished client in her late 70’s as the face of their campaign. It’s this global and personal inclusivity which makes Dilettante a rarity in isolated Perth.
“I want to invest in the customer, celebrate them, get [them] excited, rather than just keep plodding along.” – Diana Paolucci
The process of seeking and sourcing new brands happens rather organically. Dilettante shares, “we may see the brand pop up from time to time and then they’ll do something we think will really work for us, and we will seek them out and make an appointment to see if they are the right fit for us”.
Dilettante’s interior design evolution also paralleled a shift in the brands it presents. Stepping away from heavily conceptual and avante-garde brands, Paolucci describes a selection of more climate-friendly and Perth-relevant power brands such as Marni, Christopher Kane, Issey Miyake and Rick Owens.
With their vocal point being everyday luxury items, Dilettante has become more conscious of their price points and making their collection items more affordable. More recently, its Dilettante’s first collection release from Czechoslovakian brand Nehera, which they describe as “dripping with crushed velvet and silk in copper and soft beige tones”. Current brands they carry include Yang Li, Vetements, Ann Demeulemeester, Acne, Black Crane and Marques Almeida.
With special thanks to Dilettante and Diana Paolucci for press materials and insights.
Visit Dilettante at 4 Bayview Terrace, Claremont WA 6010, Australia.