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Carla Zampatti

Carla Zampatti.jpg
Born (1942-05-19)19 May 1942
Lovero, Italy
Died 3 April 2021(2021-04-03) (aged 78)
Nationality Australian
Label(s)
Carla Zampatti Limited
Spouse(s) Leo Schuman (m. 1964–1970)
John Spender (m. 1975–2010)

Carla Maria Zampatti AC, OMRI (19 May 1942 – 3 April 2021) was an Italian-Australian fashion designer and businesswoman, and Executive Chairman of Carla Zampatti Pty Ltd. She was a board member of the Australian Multicultural Foundation, the European Australian Business Council, Sydney Dance Company, MCA Foundation and UTS V-C's Industry Advisory Board.

Background

Born in Lovero, Italy in 1942, Zampatti settled with her family in Australia in 1950.

Career

In 1965, Zampatti produced her first small collection for Zampatti Pty Limited, followed two years later by a national launch, and in 1970, by the establishment of Carla Zampatti Limited.

Zampatti opened her first boutique in 1972 in Surry Hills, Sydney. Over the next three years, boutiques were opened in Mosman, Double Bay and Elizabeth Street, Sydney, growing the Carla Zampatti Pty Ltd company to create a chain of 30 Carla Zampatti boutiques and concept stores across Australia. With the growth of the label, Zampatti moved into David Jones in 1990 and Myer stores in 1992. Australian singer of Italian descent, Tina Arena, is known to wear her pieces, as are other Australian icons Princess Mary of Denmark, Dannii Minogue, Delta Goodrem and Ita Buttrose.

In 1973 Zampatti became one of the first Australian designers to introduce swimwear into her collection. Expanding into other areas of fashion, she was commissioned to create the first designer eyewear of Polaroid's range. In 1983, Zampatti launched her first perfume, 'Carla'. It was a success, and she released a second in 1987, 'Bellezza'. In partnership with Ford Australia, Zampatti redesigned a car especially for the women's market. Her first Laser, produced in 1985, was followed two years later with a collection of Lasers and Meteors.

Zampatti held a number of directorships, including Chairman of the SBS Corporation, a director of the Westfield Group and a Trustee of the Art Gallery of New South Wales.

Zampatti divided her time between her business commitments here and overseas, her public engagements and her other directorships.

Honours

Zampatti was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in the 1987 Australia Day honours for service to the fashion industry as a designer and manufacturer. She was elevated as a Companion of the Order in the 2009 Queen's Birthday Honours List. In 2001 Zampatti was awarded the Centenary Medal for service to Australian society in business leadership. Zampatti was a Bulletin/Qantas Businesswoman of the Year, and in 1994 the fashion industry of Australia named her Designer of the Year.

In January 2005, Zampatti was honoured by Australia Post, and named an commemorative Australian postage stamp, along with other Australian fashion designers, Prue Acton, Jenny Bannister, Collette Dinnigan, Akira Isogawa and Joe Saba. The award is announced annually in the lead-up to Australia Day, and its recipients are individually featured on a postage stamp. Zampatti later designed the new Australia Post corporate wear, launched in October 2007.

In 2004 the Government of Italy appointed her a Commander of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic.

The Australian Fashion Laureate Award was given to Zampatti in August 2008. The award is polled by members of the industry, an initiative of the New South Wales Government and IMG Fashion. It recognises outstanding achievement and is the highest honour in the Australian fashion industry.

Personal life

Zampatti was married twice: her first husband was Leo Schuman, whom she married in 1964 and divorced in 1970. Her second husband was politician John Spender from 1975 until they separated in 2008 and divorced in 2010.

She had three children: Alex Schuman, Allegra Spender (managing director of Carla Zampatti Limited), and Bianca Spender (designer).

On 26 March 2021, Zampatti attended the opening night of La Traviata at Mrs Macquarie's Point on Sydney Harbour, where she was knocked unconscious after falling on a staircase. She was taken to St Vincent's Hospital where she died from her injuries on 3 April.

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