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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 sixteen stores nationally and thirty-five David Jones concessions, and her ultra-feminine collections were represented in department stores and boutiques across the globe, in New York, Singapore, London and Japan.

Alannah’s ornamental vision is a far cry from her childhood tainted with poverty, fear and abuse. One of five kids of neglectful parents, she grew up in a milk bar in the deep south of Tasmania. At sixteen, she left that past behind, a nobody traveling alone to Melbourne with an impossible dream of becoming a somebody.

In 2019, Alannah was named Momentum's Wonder Woman of the year.

Current work

In 2018, Hardie Grant published Alannah’s bestselling memoir, Butterfly on a Pin. Part rebellious fairytale, 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 humor in the darkest places. The memoir was also nominated for memoir of the year

Alannah is currently writing a book titled Pearls of Wisdom - How to go from knowing nothing to everything - Sticky beak Style. The book revolves around ten autobiographical confessions that grapple with emotions that have often overwhelmed Alannah. Resentment, greed, complacency, despair, and teenage rebellious activity are just a few. Veined throughout is the acknowledgment that our failures can elevate us.

Failure can give us a vantage point from which we can help others. Pearls of Wisdom shows how not getting what we want can inspire us to search for new meaning, change and personal growth.

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 has also been a stylist for such big names as INXS, Danny Mingogue, Kylie Minogue, Debrah Conway, Ross Wilson, Neighbors

Film: In addition to her work in fashion and entrepreneurship, Alannah has also had multiple film appearances, most notably in U2's Documentary When Love Comes to Town, where she had the privilege of interviewing the band's lead singer Bono and even David Bowie.

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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