Zampatti Powerhouse is the first retrospective exhibition of renowned Australian designer, business leader, philanthropist and mentor, Carla Zampatti, AC, OMRI (1938–2021). Encapsulating Zampatti’s trailblazing career from the establishment of her business to her most recent work, the exhibition draws over five decades of material.
In 1965, Zampatti established the Sydney fashion house and brand that is still loved by generations of women. Over more than five decades, Zampatti thrived through periods of enormous change while refining her design ethos of simplicity, understatement and strength. This is the first exhibition to chart the course of Australia’s longest-working fashion designer, acknowledging Zampatti’s manifold achievements and impact on Australian life.
The major exhibition features 100 outfits, including personal items from Zampatti’s estate, the Carla Zampatti Fashion Archive, the wardrobes of well-known women and the results of hundreds of responses to a public callout. The garments trace the evolution of Zampatti’s style from the youthful spirit of the 1960s and 1970s to the relaxed sophistication of later years. The exhibition centres on the many beloved ‘Carlas’, retained for decades, and the stories through which Zampatti’s clothing is interwoven. Highlights include rarely seen designs from her early career and loans from clients including HRH Crown Princess Mary of Denmark, Dame Quentin Bryce AD CVO, the Hon Linda Burney MP, and women from around Australia.
Two monumental audio and video installations explore Zampatti’s world through her own voice and intimate conversations between family, close friends, employees, clients and heads of businesses, arts, multicultural and charitable organisations which she supported over her lifetime. As with those who lent their clothing, the honour roll of interviewees—including Ita Buttrose AC OBE, Gladys Berejiklian and Christine Holgate—belies the breadth of people touched and inspired by Carla Zampatti.