Hello, I am Wendy Louise Diggles and I have always had a passion for creating unique and glamorous accessories. My jewellery label Wendy Louise Designs recently merged with my millinery label Belle Folie , which translates to Beautiful Madness ! I’d love to share a little of my creative journey with you.
As an accessory designer and maker I have had the privilege of working in an ever changing creative industry with talented designers and interesting clients from all walks of life for more than 30 years. I’ve collaborated with amazing Australian and international couturiers, experimented with unconventional materials, researched historical inspirations and made some incredible friendships along the way.
As a creative I am always learning and growing , I started my career in accessories in the 1980s at Sydney’s famous Paddington Markets, I had moved to Sydney from Brisbane quite young and this became like a second family for me. I loved my time there making jewellery from vintage glass and Swarovski crystals but I saved my pennies and went off to London and Europe to travel, work and live for a while. With a keen interest in art & history when I returned I worked in Antique stores and studied gemology and jewellery design.
My introduction to bridal work was by working with the best, collaborations with couturiers Marianna Hardwick, Angelina Baccini, Alex Perry, J’Aton , Diane Lewis, Rhonda Hemmingway , Pina Fiorenza , Velani, and Jane Hill to name just a few. Under my label Wendy Louise Designs, bridal became our specialty with stores opening in Newtown, Double Bay and Skygarden and a large network of couture designers that stocked and recommended us. It was a busy time with a large following and lots of interesting work, we were asked to make headpieces, jewellery and crowns for theater , film, fashion parades and competitions, we won several ABIA industry awards for customer service and I really honed my skills relating to communication & custom design, essential when creating bespoke designs for brides or clients.
Life takes you on many journeys, I relocated to Brisbane’s bay side and focused on designing and importing, I really missed the hands on component of my business so learning a new skill like millinery was perfect, so many skills involved and a new world of color and form to explore. I qualified a Cert 4 , attended millinery conventions and classes with leading international milliners and was accepted as a fellow member of the Millinery Association of Australia, working on the committee both in and out of covid times.
The name Belle Folie reflects the fun and chaos of my workrooms. A little eccentric and full of passion I love blending my skills to create pieces that have elements of both millinery and jewellery design and my piece entitled “Fusion” won 2nd runner up in the 2018 international Hattalk competition and showed at London’s Hat Week. The same year I won the Royal Melbourne Show’s Master of Millinery award with my whimsical piece “Busy As” . Competitions and exhibitions are a great way to push your boundaries , it was also a great honor to be invited to London Hat week’s World Garden exhibition and to be part of the Millinery Award in Melbourne during Spring Carnival. I was very proud to be part of both these world class events.
Millinery , head wear, jewellery and accessories are a lovely form of personal art, enjoyment for the maker, the wearer and the observer.
I believe through our individual styling we express ourselves clearly , we can tell the world something about our values and taste while showing our support for local designers, original artisans, slow fashion and ethical choices. I hope to pass on some of my passion and enthusiasm with every piece made.