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Foreigner blazing a path to the front and center of Australian fashion




The fashion world was particularly saddened by the news.

Said the queen of Kaftan, Camilla Franks MESSENGER she was heartbroken for the loss of the muse and my precious friend.

Carla was our matriarch, she said.

Carla Zampatti and husband John Spender, federal attorney general of shadows in 1987.

Carla Zampatti and husband John Spender, federal attorney general of shadows in 1987.Credit:Anthony Willis

Zampattis publicist Kellie Hush, former editor-in-chief of Harpers BAZAAR Australia, said she would miss going for a cup and a debate she was a fierce debater.

A recent topic of debate was what women want to wear after the pandemic blockages of the 2020s. She was convinced people wanted to dress, Ms. Hush said.

The business was booming as Australian women turned to trusted brands, she said, and Zampatti thrived working.

Julie Bishop and Carla Zampatti.

Julie Bishop and Carla Zampatti.

Ms. Hush said Zampatti was a beautiful friend, who was always very generous and advisor to many stylists. She liked to give tips which were always taken on board.

Melbourne-based fashion designer Toni Maticevski remembered Zampatti as someone who supported talent and pushed me to believe what I did.

Zampattis girl, stylist Bianca Spender, posted a tribute on Instagram saying today I lost my mother, my inspiration, my mentor and my girlfriend. I am literally lost and completely heartbroken.

Quentin Bryce and Carla Zampatti in February 2020

Quentin Bryce and Carla Zampatti in February 2020 Credit:Louise Kennerley

A website also quickly appeared, commemorating Zampatti as the most successful and enduring Australian stylist who has long been celebrated to make Australian women feel confident and elegant through her unique design, tailoring and the meaning of the modern woman.


An Australian women champion and a multicultural success story, she continued to thrive as a businesswoman through major radical and social change, modeling clothes for women fighting for liberation through the women’s rights movement in the 1960s to empower women today in leadership, the workplace, in their home, and in major life events.

Her family is very grateful for the excellent support and care from the team at St Vincents Hospital Sydney, the statement on the site said.

Zampatti was born in northern Italy, where a visit to a tailor aroused his interest in fashion. At the age of nine, she migrated to Western Australia. At the age of 19, she moved to Sydney to pursue her career.

In Sydney, she met and married her first husband, Leo Schuman, and in 1965, began her first fashion collection with her husband as a business partner. The collapse of her marriage in 1970 caused her to lose her factory – but she retained the rights to her name and with that, and a loan from a family member, was able to resume. She married politician and diplomat John Spender in 1975, having two other children and three decades together until their divorce in 2010.

Carla Zampatti with her daughters Bianca and Allegra Spender

Carla Zampatti with her daughters Bianca and Allegra SpenderCredit:Comprising

By the 1980s, Zampatti was recognized not only as a fashion force, but as a force in business. It was called Qantas /Bulletin Businesswoman of the Year in 1980, and continued to collect accolades in the decades that followed.

She would be president of SBS for a decade from 1999 and served on boards including the NSW Art Gallery, Sydney Theater Company and Westfield.


In one Sunday Life profile in May last year, Zampatti said she had always felt like a stranger, especially when she was starting her business as a single mother – but she did not see it as a bad thing: Being a the stranger makes you try harder.

She also described herself as a culture-loving introvert. I love theater, I love shows, I love movies. I like to watch rather than interpret.

Zampatti survives by her three children Alexander Schuman, stylist Bianca Spender and Allegra Spender and nine grandchildren.

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