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Iconic Australian designer, author and stylist

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Alannah Hill is one of Australia’s most loved fashion designers, and author of the bestselling memoir, Butterfly on a Pin. At the height of her trailblazing success, the Alannah Hill brand had twenty-five Boutiques nationally and forty David Jones Concessions, her ultra-feminine collections were represented in department stores and boutiques across the globe, in New York, Singapore, London and Japan. Alannah Hill became one of Australia’s most trailblazing, instantly recognisable and iconic fashion houses.

Alannah’s ornamental vision is a far cry from her childhood tainted with poverty, fear and abuse. One of five children, Alannah was born into a sexually abusive, poverty-stricken home in the deep south of Tasmania. At the age of fifteen, Alannah ran away travelling alone and unknown to Melbourne, a place where anything and everything felt possible, where a shy freckle-faced nobody from Tasmania could dream of becoming a somebody.

Current work:

In 2018, Hardie Grant published Alannah’s bestselling memoir, Butterfly on a Pin. Part rebellious fairy-tale, part rags-to-riches story, it’s also a timely cautionary tale. This fierce and poetic account of how a freckle-faced teenage runaway metamorphosed into a true original reveal how ~ against all odds ~ Alannah Hill created one of Australia’s most successful fashion brands from scratch.
Alannah inspires people from all walks of life with her courage, wit and intelligence, and her ability to stare down adversity and find humour in the darkest places.

Butterfly on a Pin was shortlisted for Biography of the Year by the Australian Book Industry Awards in 2019. ABIA

Alannah’s much anticipated second book, The Handbag of Happiness ((and other Misconduct, Misfortune and Misdemeanours) is a collection of rollicking, defiant, punked-up real-life stories where self-improvement is satire and life-changing moments are found in the absurdity of our peculiar little lives.

In a world full of self-help clichés, contradictory messages, Kundalini yoga, and new-puritan rules, Alannah flouts political correctness like never before! Irreverent, provocative, self-deprecating and witty, Alannah says what others dare to think. The Handbag of Happiness (and other misconduct misfortune and misdemeanours) published by Hardie Grant will be released in October 2020

Previous experience

Fashion Designer: After leaving her abusive, poverty-stricken childhood behind, Alannah moved from Tasmania to Melbourne where she unleashed her wild talent for reinvention. Alannah adopted a veneer of fearlessness, embracing the breaking New Wave of 1980s Melbourne, immersed in glamour and make-up. She knew intuitively what women wanted to wear and built an instantly recognizable brand she didn’t want to look like anyone else but welcomed the army of girls and women who adopted her look. The upstart from Tasmania set the fashion world on fire.

In 2013, after eighteen years, Alannah parted ways with Factory X, her financial backer, sending shock waves through the industry. Unable to use her own name, Alannah understood launching a new fashion label would be problematic. With her typical all-or-nothing drive, and drawing on all her creative forces, she threw herself into writing her story, to call a truce with her own troubled past and offer other ‘unjoined girls’ the glorious hope of reinvention.

In 2015, Alannah launched her new fashion brand LOUISE LOVE online, retailed exclusively through David Jones.
Alannah also worked as a stylist (with stars like Michael Hutchence, INXS, Danny Minogue, Kylie Minogue, Deborah Conway, Ross Wilson, Frente, and Nicole Kidman.

Film: In addition to her work in fashion and entrepreneurship, Alannah appeared in Richard Lowenstein’s cult 80’s film, Dogs in Space starring Michael Hutchence (INXS) She also had the privilege of interviewing Bono, B. B. King, David Bowie and The Edge for a U2 music documentary titled, When Love Comes To Town.

“I found U2 difficult to interview! They were extremely reserved around each other and I understood quite quickly that the only way I could get them to open up (to reveal their real selves) was to interview each band member alone and force them to drink! And they drank! A lot! I didn’t but they did, and so….. I found out everything!!”

Talking Points

Love, Despair and Reinvention

Available as a Keynote or as in In-conversation
Inspiring people with her courage, wit and raw intelligence, Alannah recounts her journey from a tiny milk bar in Penguin, Tasmania to the world stage of fashion. From extreme hardship to hard-won wisdom, she takes the audience on her wild ride to success and motherhood, then through the sorrow of losing her mother and her brand name. Alannah’s public appearances promoting her memoir have left audiences breathless with laughter and shaken by tears.

>‘I’ll Show You!’: How Alannah Hill achieved her impossible dream of becoming a fashion superstar

Alannah Hill learnt to cover the emotional scars of her childhood with a veneer of fearlessness, an armour of glamour, and a mask of makeup. She left Tasmania at 16, driven to prove she could make something of her life. A natural entrepreneur, her uniquely feminine designs eventually became the hallmark of an international brand. To the outside world, Alannah was living her dream but behind the scenes, she was unraveling. This is her inspiring story of taking the fashion world by storm; a story that will leave the audience believing anything is possible.

What Women Want: Alannah unlocks the secrets of meeting the needs of the most powerful consumers

What women want: Alannah unlocks the secrets of meeting the needs of the most powerful consumers Alannah Hill is the original queen of marketing and customer service. Today, she feels fashion has lost touch with what women want, despite the availability of big data and every analytical tool imaginable. She shares stories from her time at Indigo Boutique in 80s Melbourne, through to the heyday of her eponymous label, all through the lens of sales, marketing and customer service. Naturally curious and intuitively creative, Alannah translated conversations with customers about how they wanted to feel into her next collection. She talks about her knack for selling, how to harness your intuition, and why every retail experience needs to be personalised.

Why We All Need a Mask

Alannah Hill reveals why she made a choice to never be caught in public without her signature make-up. Searingly honest, she recounts the evolution of her public persona, a fall-out from sexual abuse and childhood trauma.That mask became a way of life, and enabled her to succeed in the highly competitive world of fashion. Alannah talks about the facades we create for ourselves and how what we wear - and how we wear it - can become our armour.

A Talent for Reinvention

A talent for reinvention Alannah Hill shares her life story in a series of vignettes about the various times she was forced to confront devastating events: sexual assault, being abandoned with a five-day-old baby, melanoma, losing her brand name. With her trademark honesty, sharp wit and insight, Alannah details how she has picked herself up, followed her instincts and finally called a truce with her past.
Alannah Hill was a guest speaker at Bendigo Writers Festival and she was mesmerising. The audience loved meeting her, listening to her talk about her colourful life in fashion, and very much enjoyed her wit and warmth. She is a delightful, entertaining and disarmingly honest speaker. Rosemary Sorensen, Director - Bendigo Writers Festival
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