Carla Zampatti: Still In Fashion 50 Years On
Fashion icon, Carla Zampatti, recently celebrated 50 fabulous years in the industry with the release of two books – Carla Zampatti My Life, My Look and Carla Zampatti 50 Years of Fashion – and an unshakable status as one of the original pioneers of local manufacturing in this country.
The 72-year-old doyenne of Australian fashion and mother of three migrated to Australia from Italy as a nine-year-old girl and chased her dream of becoming a fashion designer ever since her mother took her to a dressmaker in Lombardy at the age of five.
Her remarkable feat of longevity in a fickle business has not always come easy yet her undying commitment to her craft and vision has rewarded her with rising success over the years. But more than that is how Carla has proven you can create a fashion label away from the high life of Paris and still succeed.
Carla has witnessed fashion’s curious changes over the decades and despite all the seasonal ins and outs, she has maintained her love affair with the jumpsuit, the playsuit and the one-shoulder dress. While these styles may have cornerstone references to the 70s and 80s, Carla found a way of keeping the romance alive by reinventing the silhouettes with modern tweaks.
In the 80s, life changed rapidly for her after winning the Qantas/Bulletin Businesswoman of The Year Award. She promptly went on to design the interior of an Australian car and, according to the designer, began to be viewed seriously as a businesswoman rather than a mere fashion designer.
“It is amazing how being recognised with an award can change the way you are perceived,” Carla noted. “I am so grateful for the career I have sustained in the business and it really comes down the Australian people and fashion industry that have supported me from the beginning.”
Evolution of The Zampatti Woman
Carla, who continues to design two collections a year, also pointed out that the “Zampatti woman” has evolved over time just as she has.
“To be honest I find that each collection I create is more exciting than the last one which is why I cannot give up being a fashion designer. I feel the Zampatti woman is more certain of who she is and what she wants and where she wants to go. It is great to see how far women have come too. They are in a great position now and I have seen a lot of changes from 50 years ago, as you can imagine.”
Carla observed that women still want to wear stylish outfits and are always on the look out for something new so she strives to recreate that classic touch through her annual collections.
“When I look back at the five decades you see a recurring commitment to shape and elegance. I have stuck with the jumpsuit and it is a cornerstone of my brand.”
At the recent launch of her photographic book, Carla Zampatti 50 Years of Fashion, in the National Gallery of Victoria, she told an enthusiastic crowd that it did not feel like half a century has passed her by.
“It does not really feel like 50 years. But with the release of the book and looking back at those photographs you are reminded of longevity. And I am really proud of it.”
Carla Zampatti’s Highlights Through The Decades:
1960s –Starts her brand with a small collection in 1965 at the age of 23
1970s – Opens her first boutique showcasing flares and more flares.
1980s – Is named Business Woman of the Year by Qantas/Bulletin Magazine. Launches a perfume called Carla and Bellezza and introduces a swimwear collection. Is the first designer to create a Polaroid eyewear range.
1990s – Quits wholesaling and focuses on her 18 stand-alone stores in Australia.
2000s – Is honored by Australia Post with a stamp and named 2005 Australia Post Australian Legend.
2010s – Celebrates her 50th anniversary with a milestone Spring/Summer 2015 collection that is launched in April at the Sydney Opera House.
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