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Australia’s Powerhouse Women Farewelled Carla Zampatti In Style

Family and friends were joined by dignitaries from across fashion, politics and media at the state funeral for the fashion icon

Carla Zampatti was honoured today in a state funeral that paid tribute to her enduring legacy as a titan of Australian fashion and a beloved mother and grandmother. 

Held at St Mary’s Cathedral in Sydney, the service was attended by Australia’s powerhouse women across fashion, politics and media. 

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, Former Governor-General Dame Quentin Bryce, former Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, Jenny Morrison, foreign minister Marise Pain, Governor of NSW Margaret Beazley and Former Governor of NSW Dame Marie Bashir all attended. As did television presenters Georgie Gardner, Sam Armytage, Sonia Kruger, Natalie Barr and Melissa Doyle. 

marie claire editor Nicky Briger and fashion designers such as Camilla Franks and Alexandra Smart were also among the dignitaries. 

Former Prime Ministers Tony Abbott, John Howard and Malcolm Turnbull attended with their respective wives Margie Abbott, Janette Howard and Lucy Turnbull. 

Zampatti, 78, passed away following a fall down a set of stairs at the opening of opera La Traviata at Mrs Macquarie’s Point earlier in the month.

Per the Sydney Morning Herald, Principal celebrant Archbishop of Sydney Anthony Fisher opened proceedings by acknowledging Zampatti’s incredible contribution to Australian fashion. “Carla has been hailed as a great Australian whose passing is mourned by all who knew her. A champion of women and a multicultural success story,” he said. 

He went on to note that in Britain, state funerals are usually only reserved for royalty, but “here in Australia … it could be said that Carla Zampatti was indeed a reigning monarch, the queen of fashion.”

Zampatti’s children, Alexander Schuman, Allegra Spender and Bianca Spender paid homage to their ‘captivating’ mother at the service. Bianca spoke of the warmth her mother embodied. “She had such a captivating presence. She drew you in with her soft voice to present a clear, concise point of view. Her favourite thing on the weekend was to swim and have her family around her,” she said. 

“She offered you champagne and croissants at any time of day, with Nutella for the grandchildren, presenting everything on a perfect white cloth.”

Allegra said one of her mother’s greatest pleasures was seeing other women succeed. “We will miss her warm presence, her perspective, her sense of fun, her love and care of us and the joy she took from the world,” she said. “We are very proud of you mum. We are committed to continuing your legacy of inspiring, empowering and supporting women.”

(Credit: Image: Getty)

Former Governor-General Dame Quentin Bryce also spoke, remembering her “dear lovely friend” and the very first piece she ever owned by the fashion icon. “It was purple with tiny red buttons, there have been very many since,” she said.

Bryce continued: “We would share an enduring friendship that has enriched my life in myriad ways as Carla did for so many”. 

Zampatti was made Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) in 2009, for service to the fashion and retail property sectors, multicultural broadcasting, and as a role model and mentor to women. In the following year, she was named the Australian Fashion Laureate – the highest honour in Australia’s fashion industry.

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