It is with great sadness that Chief Executive Women (CEW) acknowledges the passing of one of Australia and CEW’s most special people, Carla Zampatti AC, the undisputed leader of Australian fashion, the entrepreneur, the philanthropist and a sage wise and wonderful founding member of CEW.

Sam Mostyn AO spoke on behalf of CEW members, saying “Carla was an inspiration and pioneer in the fashion industry. Her success as a businesswoman forged the way for many other women not just in the fashion industry, and her designs were worn by influential women from politicians, business leaders, royalty, actors, and women who connected to her brand both here in Australia and around the globe.

“Upon hearing the news today, I am sure we all felt that someone who had played a very meaningful part of all our lives had left us. I know I certainly did.

“She will be deeply missed by her family and friends, the fashion industry, Australia’s business, arts and political communities and her legions of loyal fans around the country”.

Carla’s family said it beautifully today “A champion of Australian women and a multicultural success story, she continued to thrive as a businesswoman through enormous radical and social change, designing clothes for women fighting for liberation through the women’s rights movement in the 1960s to empowering women today in leadership, the workplace, in their home and at major life events.”

CEW’s Founding President, Barbara Cail AO, has reflected on Carla’s extraordinary support for CEW since its inception: “In 1985 Carla was one of the first women I invited to help me create Chief Executive Women. During the 35 years she never stopped supporting the organisation and provided wonderful leadership as well as growing her own business to an outstanding international success. She was committed to gender equity, profoundly empathetic and a valuable, warm friend to the CEW family. She will be missed but her legacy will remain.“

Among her many awards, in 1980 she won the inaugural Australian Business Woman of the Year, and in 2005 she was one of six designers to be celebrated on the Australian Legends postage stamp series; two years later she would design the Australia Post uniforms. In 1987 she was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia, and, in 2009, a Companion of the Order of Australia. In 2004, the Italian government appointed her Commander in the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic. In 2008 she was awarded the Australian Fashion Laureate award for lifetime achievement. She was chairman of SBS for 10 years from 1999 and was on the boards of Sydney Dance Company, MCA Foundation and the Australian Multicultural Foundation, and a trustee of the Sydney Theatre Company Foundation Trust.

We are grateful for Carla’s contribution to Chief Executive Women and her legacy.

On behalf of our members, Chief Executive Women extends our deepest sympathy to Carla’s family. The family has created a special memorial page for those who wish to share memories at this link here then by clicking on stories.

Sam Mostyn AO
President, CEW
3 April 2021