International Women's Day: Dinny Hall

Q&A with jewellery designer and founder, Dinny Hall.

Tell us about your role and your business…

I've been running the whole show since leaving Central Saint Martins in 1984, that's when Liberty London bought an entire collection from my degree showcase. Of course, then it was just me, but pretty quickly I needed help and my role gradually morphed from being a graduate who designed and made her own jewellery to a jewellery designer at the forefront of a business. I am still a jewellery designer at the helm of the London jewellery brand Dinny Hall! 


Tell us about your career journey so far. 

From a studio in Soho’s Beak Street designing jewellery for the catwalks of London and New York and gracing the pages and covers of Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar, to opening our flagship store in Notting Hill in 1992. There began my journey into becoming a retailer and designing jewellery with more of a lifestyle vision in mind. I now have five jewellery boutiques around London and a concession at the great London department store Liberty London. 


Have you faced any obstacles you’ve had to overcome in your business?

Just being a woman in business during the mid to late 1980's and 90’s was an obstacle in itself! In a fast-changing world where competition encroaches, staying relevant is challenging but I enjoy reinvention. In the end, it is the passion I have for what I do that has seen me through the best of times and the worst of times.


Which women have inspired you most throughout your life? 

Elsa Perretti for her singularly inspired jewellery for Tiffany's in the 1970's - she invented the still fashionable ‘less is more’ everyday luxury jewellery made from silver, gold and diamonds. Josephine Baker for her style, bravery, breaking boundaries, and using her talent and fame to try to better the world. Christine Lagard, the first woman at the head of the IMF, broke many glass ceilings in both politics. My friend the author Liz Fremantle who has always been there to share the chequered paths we both have taken.


What made you choose Marylebone Village as a destination for your restaurant/store? 

As a student, I used to buy buttons from The Button Queen on Marylebone Lane, sewing them onto second-hand jackets to make them look special. Even back then I thought it was a great place to have a jewellery boutique. Marylebone Lane is the village ​in the heart of London - all we need is a candlestick maker. (My shop used to be a sausage shop by the way!)


What inspired you to create the Suffragette collection?

My sister had volunteered for Women’s Aid and inspired me to come up with a collection where we could donate to them. Also, a political journalist friend of mine founded the Women’s Equality Party, and at the same time, another friend produced the film ‘Suffragette’ - it all began from there about seven years ago.


Why is the Suffragette collection important to you? 

Those remarkable women who got us the vote over a hundred years ago risked their lives for us, and paved the way for the semblance of equality we have in 2024. I also happen to love the colours they chose: Violet for dignity, Green for hope and White for purity. 


Do you have any tips on how to run a successful business? 

There are times when you think you’ve got nothing left in reserve to keep going, but you’ll have to be able to dig deeper than you can ever imagine. On top of this and most importantly, is that you must learn what it is to be a good leader - that being able to be humble is as important as being in charge.


What is your favourite song to make you feel empowered?  

A bit cliched- ‘I Will Survive’ by Gloria Gaynor