St Mary’s Cathedral Sydney, April 15: Following the passing of Australian womenswear designer, Carla Zampatti, on April 3 a State Funeral has been held at St Mary’s Cathedral in the heart of Sydney’s CBD today. The cathedral was at near capacity with prominent Australian figures, New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian, Minister of Women, Marise Payne, and Former foreign minister, Julie Bishop among those in attendance.
The service opened this morning with a suite of historic images from Zampatti’s life before an echo of her voice reverberated throughout the cathedral. The late-Zampatti reflected on her life, what it was to be a hard working woman and mother in Australia and how her designs influence women from around the globe.
“It kind of took a lot of courage, probably more courage than I’ve ever had to draw upon, and it was tough but it taught me that I was really, really strong and that I could do it,” she says in the audio.
“I think you learn more from tough times than from good times. You learn what you can do, you learn your strength, so I think if you get stuck in a corner, don’t stay there … find a way to get out because I think it’s really, really important. Once you’re out of it, and you’re breathing again, you’ll feel much, much stronger and nothing will touch you.
“I’d like to be remembered as someone who helped women achieve … by giving them a product that they could wear to give them confidence.”
The Archbishop of Sydney, The Most Reverend Anthony Fisher opened the service, likening the designer as “a reigning monarch, the queen of fashion.”
Carla Zampatti’s granddaughter, Brigid Schuman, and her close friend Jillian Broadbent gave the main readings while Former Governor-General Quentin Bryce and Zampatti’s three children, Alex Schuman, Bianca Spender and Allegra Spender, recited the Words of Remembrance.
The Archbishop delivered a reflection on Zampatti’s life, calling her a “brave spirited woman”. “The single mother courageously built her own fashion house from scratch,” he said.
“None of us knows what Carla said to her creator upon her return to him. Though I suspect the choirs of angels are about to get new uniforms,” he quipped. A flutter of laughs rang out around the cathedral.
To finish, the Archbishop noted her final days. Zampatti died in St Vincent’s Hospital on April 3, after falling on the steps of the Opera House at a gala outdoor premiere of La Traviata in Sydney Harbour. She was 78.
“It was fitting that it was opera on the harbour. Popular and accessible,” he said. “For she was not all haute couture but for beauty, for women in every walk of life.”
The Australian flag atop the Sydney Harbour Bridge today flied at half-mast in honour of Zampatti.
May she rest in peace.