SYDNEY — Famous Australian fashion designer Carla Zampatti, 78, died at Sydney’s St Vincent’s Hospital on the morning of April 3, a week after being hospitalized following a fall at Mrs Macquarie’s Point on the opening night of Opera Australia’s La Traviata in Sydney.
Opera Australia has acknowledged the sad death of Carla Zampatti but not responded to a report of “dangerous” stairs on which the fashion designer fell at a performance before her death.
“Opera Australia is deeply saddened by the news of Carla Zampatti’s passing. Zampatti was an Australian fashion icon and a passionate supporter of the arts who will be greatly missed. Our thoughts and heartfelt sympathies are with her family at this time,” a statement read.
Born in Italy in 1942, Zampatti migrated to Australia in 1950 at age nine, setting up her fashion famous label at 24.
Her designs have been worn by some of Australia’s most influential women, including Princess Mary of Denmark, Julia Gillard — Australia’s first female prime minister, Oscar-winning actress Nicole Kidman, and Gladys Berejiklian, premier of New South Wales.
The mother-of-three and grandmother to nine had spent a week in hospital after falling as she attended an outdoor opening performance.
Opera Australia was asked to respond to Zampatti’s family’s comments that the stairs were dangerous and needed improvement.
“The stairs are very dangerous at the opera. Install some rails because otherwise other people might fall as well,” said Ita Buttrose, a known of Zampatti.
Zampatti was named Australian Designer of the Year in 1994, awarded the Australian Fashion Laureate in 2008, and a year later was appointed a Companion of the Order of Australia, Australia’s highest civilian honor.
“Carla has long been celebrated for making Australian women feel confident and elegant through her exceptional design, tailoring, and understanding of the modern woman,” her family said in a statement.
Bianca Spender, the daughter of Zampatti, who followed in her mother’s footsteps as a designer, posted an emotional tribute to her “inspiration” on Instagram.
“Today, I lost my mother, my inspiration, my mentor, and my friend. I am lost for words and totally heartbroken,” the post read.
“She leaves an undeniable legacy behind and will remain a constant in the hearts of her loving family, friends, and women all over Australia and the world who’ve enjoyed her designs throughout the years,” read another post by Spender.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison also paid tribute to Zampatti, claiming it had been a great honor to have known her.
“Carla was an icon to the fashion industry, a pioneer as an entrepreneur and a champion of multicultural Australia,” he said.
“Her contribution to our nation will be timeless, just like her designs.”
An online memorial page has been established to commemorate the fashion icon’s life and work.
(Edited by Amrita Das and Pallavi Mehra)