Image courtesy Carla Zampatti
On Thursday, April 28, the indefatigable Ms Carla Zampatti got a head start on the official MBFWA program with a Spring/Summer 2016 show hosted in her magnificent home. The event wasn’t part of the official fashion week calendar, but everyone worthy of a front row seat was paying attention. 
Never mind that the rest of the industry will be showing their resort collections later this month – after 50 years in business Ms Zampatti can do what she wants, and generally does.

It’s the unexpected enlistment of the Romance Was Born team of Anna Plunkett and Luke Sales, whose kaleidoscopic tendencies seem slightly at odds with Zampatti’s refined restraint, that has thumbs poised to post on Instagram. Opposites attract and the talented trio met on a photo shoot to promote Zampatti’s autobiography My Life, My Look.

With a loyal clientele that includes Today show host Lisa Wilkinson, former Governor General Quentin Bryce, Marta Dusseldorf (Australian acting’s answer to Tilda Swinton) and Mariah Carey’s future mother-in-law Ros Packer, it’s not as though  Zampatti needs to convert Romance customers. This is just another reason to love her and in case you weren’t already besotted with the design diva, we courted her with ten questions. (She chose to answer nine because she’s a Boss).

Pick three words best describe your latest collectionRelaxed, glamour, Australian lifestyle.” 

What were your inspirations? “My inspiration always comes from the fabrics – it is not until I get to drape them against myself in front of a mirror that I can see how the designs will evolve.”

Last year you celebrated a major anniversary as well as your autobiography. How does it feel moving forward past those milestones? “I am so happy I have the books behind me and I can concentrate on what I love doing, which is new creations and collections and continuing to work with talented people.”  

How did you enlist Luke and Anna from Romance Was Born to style your show? “I knew I wanted a change. I have known them both for sometime and admire their talents so I thought it would be fun to have their input and it has been great.” 

There is a lot of discussion at the moment about the pressure major designers are under. How do you cope with it?Pressure and deadlines are part of the creative process. It’s not fun but I find it stimulating.” 

What is your favourite part of the design process? “It starts with draping fabrics then sketching but for me its trying on a half-made garment in my workroom with my wonderful team and realising it’s going to be great.” 

How do you celebrate at the end of a show? “I have a campaign shoot immediately after the show and then I will crash and have an early night and try to celebrate the following day.”

Do you have a favourite ‘fashion’ film? “I loved The Last Emperor with Valentino and his partner. I thought the director captured the many moods around the creative and business process.” 

What is your guilty pleasure? “It is not a guilty pleasure but simply a pleasure and that is to be involved with the arts. I love watching theatre, seeing Sydney Dance Company and visiting the many exhibitions in Sydney.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Damien Woolnough has been writing about Australian fashion for more than 15 years. A former editor of and fashion editor of The Australian newspaper, his work has appeared in Vogue, Harper’s BAZAAR, In Style, GQ, The Australian Financial Review and The Australian Women’s Weekly. Follow @damienwoolnough.