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Powerhouse Presents Exclusive Carla Zampatti Retrospective

Carla Zampatti achieve imagesMarch 3, 2022

Left image: Cape and pants, 1978 from Carla Zampatti archival photo. Centre image: Carla Zampatti dress and Polaroid sunglasses, The National Times, 1974. Right image: Backless dress, The Zampatti Ford Laser collection, 1987 from Carla Zampatti archival photo All on detail background of Carla Zampatti dress 1976, Powerhouse collection object 2020/ 51/1 

The Powerhouse today announced the first, internationally exclusive retrospective exhibition of renowned Australian designer Carla Zampatti. Opening 25 November 2022, the major survey exhibition will present the life of Carla Zampatti AC, OMRI (19422021) whose achievements as a fashion designer, business leader, philanthropist and mentor made her an Australian icon. The development of the retrospective began with Carla Zampatti in 2019. Since Carla’s passing, the Powerhouse has been working closely with the Zampatti family and fashion house to share her collection and life’s work with the public.

The exhibition will encapsulate the Italian-born designer’s trailblazing career from the establishment of her business in 1965 to her most recent work, drawing on more than five decades of material. Themes of Private Life, Professional Life and Public Life will be explored, anchored by Zampatti’s signature designs. Exclusive interviews with the designer, her clients, family, friends, employees and business associates will be incorporated throughout the exhibition.

More than 60 garments from the Zampatti company archive and other collections will be exhibited, alongside up to 40 garments and objects selected from public submissions. Highlight pieces include rare jumpsuits and eveningwear from the 1960s and 70s.

“It is an incredible honour for Mum’s design legacy to be showcased in a major exhibition at the Powerhouse. Mum loved the magic of fashion, the big runway shows as well as hearing her customers’ personal stories and how her designs often played a small part in moments of significance in the lives of many Australian women,” said Carla Zampatti CEO Alexander Schuman.

“Carla Zampatti’s indelible legacy transcends her immense contribution to Australian fashion and trailblazing leadership for women in business. Her timeless pieces, often passed down from generation to generation, have featured in special events of significance to so many Australian women. We invite community members who have loved and collected Zampatti to see their treasured Carla Zampatti garments featured alongside the family’s collection in this important exhibition,” said Powerhouse Chief Executive Lisa Havilah.

“The Carla Zampatti exhibition will showcase the oeuvre of an Australian icon at the forefront of Australia’s fashion industry, from designing a car with Ford, to the uniform for Australia Post and celebrating 50 years of fashion at the Sydney Opera House. I’m also very excited about what beautiful and rare Carla designs we may find in private wardrobes and hearing the sartorial stories attached to those pieces,” said Powerhouse Trustee Kellie Hush.

Email submissions are welcomed (via until Friday 8 April 2022. Rare, early outfits in good condition dating from 1965 – 1995 are sought, along with Carla Zampatti-designed Ford Laser cars, ‘Carla’ perfume, key rings and scarfs. Please provide high-resolution images alongside garment/object details (size, material, general condition, details of wear and tear, geographic location) and associated personal stories. For additional details on how to submit, please visit

Further information on the exhibition will be announced later this year.

Images available here
@powerhouse #PowerhouseZampatti

Creative Team

Exhibition Curator: Roger Leong

Creative Director: Tony Assness

Stylist: Peter Simon Phillips

Creative Hair Director: Alan White