Carla Zampatti kicks off the Fashion Week buzz in typical professional style

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If blood, sweat and tears are what really go on behind the scenes of the fashion industry – more than sheer glamour – then designer Carla Zampatti has been living four decades of hell. Actually, we’re quite certain Ms Zampatti has been enjoying the better part of 46 years in the fashion industry. The woman who settled with her Italian family in Australia in 1950 holds claim to many astonishing achievements. She delivered her debut range in 1965 – a time when Australia was hardly on the world’s political map, let alone fashionable one. She was one of the first designers to include swimwear in a collection, back in 1973. She has been commissioned by Ford Motors to redesign a car specifically tailored to women; was the first designer commissioned to create eyewear for Polaroid; launched several successful fragrances; and – away from fashion and beauty – is an avid supporter of the arts (Carla is a Trustee of the Sydney Theatre Company Foundation Trust as well as a Board Member of the Australian Multicultural Foundation). And after all this, the gal can still instill awe in the hardest of fashion editors and buyers.

The Carla Zampatti Spring/Summer 2011/12 collection was revealed to 240 media and celebrities on Thursday, a few days before the official commencement of Rosemount Australian Fashion Week, and once again guests went gaga over the bold sartorial statements made. Though there was a streak of minimalism running through most of the collection of long, lean dresses with a strong graphic look – there was just enough detailing for the wearer to twist, drape and adapt any piece to suit any mood.

Highlights included a royal blue georgette float-back drape evening dress, and black crepe art deco inspired dress (both pictured, top), with ribbed cotton trenches over crepe jackets and pants also impressing. While Chic models, including Chanel favourite Rose Mary-Smith, wore broad, whimsical head-pieces that might intimidate even the most ardent fashionista at a day at the races, the strength of classicism and simplicity of each piece kept that Zampatti credibility well intact. Here’s to decades more, you Italo-Aussie icon, you.

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