Dianne Ludwig has been an accounting and consulting firm partner, a fashion historian and vintage clothing reseller. Now, the 59-year-old adds ‘model’ to the list.
Dianne, who stars in our latest Luxe campaign, is the founder of Welcome Back Slow Fashion, an Instagram-based vintage fashion store. Known for her covetable garments, Dianne actually spends a lot of her time in her underwear, switching between outfits to take selfies for her store on Instagram.
Her mantra? To get people buying less, they need to love things more.
Dianne never previously considered fashion as a career, but it has always lingered at the periphery of her life. Her mother worked at the QC table of a local clothing manufacturer to make ends meet. Dianne discovered vintage fashion rummaging through London op-shops in her 20s, and took night classes in fashion history at the renowned Central Saint Martins while working overseas.
A number of Dianne’s clients while working as an consulting firm partner were NZ designer fashion brands. She was in her 40s when she quit her job after an epiphany, and fell back in love with vintage fashion. “I always kept coming back to fashion in some way, but I never joined the dots,” she says.
These days, Dianne is as much an activist as she is a salesperson. A founding trustee of the New Zealand Fashion Museum, she advises fashion enthusiasts via her Intagram account who are seeking to discover more about the past history of their garments. “It’s irrelevant whether they’ve ever bought something from me,” she says. “I see that as part of my role, because it’s all about getting people to fall back in love with fashion, and slow fashion down.”
Dianne has a particularly emotional connection to certain garments. She takes out a handmade 1950s floral dress from her wardrobe: her elderly mum bought it when they regularly went op-shopping together. It’s clear that it’s not just a dress; it contains the memories of time she spent with her mother, as well as the people who have worn it before her.
Dianne wearing the dress her mother bought for her while op-shopping.
When we approached her to model for the range, Dianne was taken aback. “I thought: ‘oh no, who do you think you are, getting your kit off, getting into some underwear and modelling?’
“Then I thought, ‘I’m constantly a little bit disappointed by the way that age is represented in society.’ Even when we see older models, they’re always beautiful and perfect.”
She was drawn to the idea of a campaign without retouching curves and blemishes, where the models were depicted authentically. She also says she loves how Nisa is helping rebuild our fashion industry by creating employment and training.
While a daunting prospect, Dianne says the photo shoot was a lot of fun. “That’s what fashion should be,” she says. “It shouldn’t just be the hit of a package arriving, it should create lasting memories.”
Models Jaclyn and Dianne laugh during the Luxe shoot. Jaclyn wears the Poppy Balconette bralette and Charlotte mesh brief in Boysenberry, and Dianne wears the Fifi plunge bralette and Lucy low panel brief in black.
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