Ex-prime ministers and TV figures farewell Carla Zampatti
Carla Zampatti created her own clothes from the age of 12 and 66 years on, Australia's fashion matriarch's quest for beauty in colours and fabrics were paraded among the 1200 guests who packed St Mary's Cathedral for her state funeral.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Alan Jones, Kerryn Phelps, Julie Bishop, Sonia Kruger, Samantha Armytage, John Howard, the NSW Governor General Margaret Beazley and Georgie Gardner celebrated the life of Australia's fashion matriarch who fashioned clothes for ordinary people.
"Mum was incredibly warm ... If she were alive today I'm sure she would have said 'this is the best dressed funeral she had ever attended'," her designer daughter Bianca Spender said.
Glancing at the dark wooden polished coffin draped in a crisp white cloth, she said, "Mum was incredibly warm, she did everything with champagne and croissants and presented everything on a crisp white cloth."
Flanked by his two sisters, her son Alexander Schuman said, "When mum came to Australia from Northern Italy she didn't speak a word of English, so many of you have called us to say how she inspired them and how she touched their lives.
"She left school at 14 and only spoke little Italian in the home saying, vieni qui, subito, desso, which translates to come here, quickly, now.
"She was always in a hurry. She loved cars. Mum thought she had the reflexes of a formula one driver. Her yellow car can only be described as a menace, I'm glad it's off the road."
The grandmother of nine fell to her death after watching La Traviata at the Opera House, where her first fashion show was staged.
Her stylish dark wooden coffin draped in white flowers was carried into a gleaming Mercedes hearse as bells of 1838 cathedral chimed at midday.
The designer created clothes for ordinary women.
The order of service reflecting on her 78 years encapsulated the mark she wanted to leave. "I think my children living through my career and surviving- that makes me most proud. And also helping women do what they really wanted to do and maybe setting an example, that if I can do it, you can. I think that is what I would like to be remembered as," it read.
Also at the funeral were presenter Samantha Armytage, Vogue Editor Edwina McCann and fashion designers Nicky Zimmermann and Colette Dinnigan.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, as well as former prime ministers Tony Abbott and wife Margie, and John Howard and his wife Janette took their places in the cathedral pews.
Her mark was evident in the clothes worn by mourners in tailored suits, black dresses and chic skirts.
Former foreign minister Julie Bishop paraded Carla Zampatti black velvet feathered dress, retailing at nearly $1000.
Around 40 of Zampatti's staff donning yellow buttonholes flowers in honour of her favourite colour paid their respects.
The doyenne of the Australian fashion industry was a perennial on the Sydney social scene and widely admired for her sartorial elegance as well as her savvy business sense.
Originally published as Former prime ministers, TV figures farewell Carla Zampatti