Sam Armytage's touching tribute to late designer Carla Zampatti

Gillian Wolski
·Lifestyle & Entertainment Producer
·4-min read

Former Sunrise star Sam Armytage has been left 'absolutely devastated' by the sudden death of her friend, Australian fashion designer Carla Zampatti on Saturday.

The 44-year took to Instagram to share a touching tribute to industry icon Zampatti just hours after sad news of her passing was announced.

Sam Armytage wipes a tear on Sunrise
Sam Armytage has been left 'absolutely devastated' by the sudden death of her friend, Australian fashion designer Carla Zampatti. Photo: Channel 7.

"Absolutely devastated at the loss of my beautiful friend Carla Zampatti this morning," Sam began her lengthy post.

"She was a creative genius, a wonderful generous elegant woman & very much a part of many of my favourite memories.

She will be dearly missed, but never forgotten. And will live on forever in my heart, & my wardrobe. Vale Carla."

Zampatti died on Saturday morning, a week after she suffered a serious fall at a Sydney opera. She was 78.

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Carla Zampatti attends opening night of La Traviata on March 26, 2021 in Sydney, Australia
Fashion designer Carla Zampatti (pictured at the opening night of La Traviata on March 26) has passed away aged 78. Photo: Getty Images.

Sam has stepped out in Carla Zampatti numerous times however there is one special piece by the late designer in her wardrobe: the white, high-neck wedding dress she wore to marry her husband, Richard Lavender on New Year's Eve last year.

The newlywed made sure to include a snap of her happy day in a series of photos she posted in Zampatti's honour. Sam also shared a pic of herself at the 2019 Logie Awards wearing a red-hot, one-shouldered Carla Zampatti gown.

Celeb tributes flow

Sam led the tributes to Zampatti from her famous fans. Kylie Gillies, Sam's pal and former Channel 7 colleague wrote in the comments: 

"Carla was the epitome of style. A huge loss. Love to her family. And her work family too."

Samantha Armytage arrives at the 61st Annual TV WEEK Logie Awards at The Star Gold Coast on June 30, 2019 on the Gold Coast, Australia. (Photo by Faith Moran/Wireimage)
Sam stunned in a red-hot column gown by Carla Zampatti at the Logie Awards in 2019. Photo: Getty Images.

Packed To The Rafters star Rebecca Gibney posted a heartfelt message to her own Instagram account, revealing that she wore a white Carla Zampatti suit just weeks ago to promote her new mini-series, Under The Vines.

"So shocked and saddened to hear of the passing of the extraordinary @carlazampatti.

"I have worn Carla’s designs in so many fashion shoots, to a multitude of awards nights - including the International Emmys - and most recently on the series Under The Vines currently shooting in New Zealand."

Like Sam, Rebecca also posted images of herself sporting pieces from Zampatti's eponymous label.

Actress Rebecca Gibney arrives at the 2012 Logie Awards at the Crown Palladium on April 15, 2012 in Melbourne, Australia
Rafters star Rebecca Gibney wore Carla Zampatti to the 2012 Logie Awards. Photo: Getty Images.

Model Megan Gale remembered Zampatti as, "Classy, sophisticated, smart and an incredible mother and businesswoman."

I'm A Celebrity star Toni Pearen shared her 'heartfelt condolences' to Zampatti's daughter, fashion designer Bianca Spender and her family.

"I remember my own mum daydreaming about owning a @carlazampatti. She is an Australian icon and a true inspiration to all women xxxxxxx," Toni wrote.

Fit for a princess

Another Aussie fan of Zampatti's designs is Princess Mary, who wore one of her gowns not once but three times.

Princess Mary initially sported the dusty pink boat-neck dress in 2013 for a Women's Weekly photo shoot, then again to a state dinner the following year.

She recycled the gown for a third time in 2015, donning it for an official portrait with her husband, Prince Frederik.

Frederik (R), Crown Prince of Denmark and his wife Crown Princess Mary (L) arrive at Amalienborg Palace for a dinner in honor of Turkish President Abdullah Gul and his wife Hayrunnisa Gul given by Queen Margrethe II and her husband Prince Henrik in Copenhagen, Denmark on March 17, 2014. (Photo by Mehmet Kaman/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Princess Mary wearing a Carla Zampatti gown to a dinner in honour of Turkish President Abdullah Gul at Amalienborg Palace in Copenhagen, Denmark on March 17, 2014. Photo: Getty Images.

Zampatti told Fairfax Media at the time that she was 'so proud' the Danish royal had not only asked to keep the dress but had chosen to re-wear it for such an auspicious moment.

"At the end of the shoot she asked if she could keep the dress [and] I was delighted.

"She looks so beautifully regal in their 2015 official portraits. I am so proud."

Death of a 'fashion icon'

Italian-born Zampatti, who launched her eponymous label in 1965, attended the opening night of the opera La Traviata at Mrs Macquarie’s Point on March 26, where she posed on the red carpet.

Later that evening, it's believed Zampatti fell and, per the Daily Telegraph, was taken by ambulance to St Vincent’s Hospital after "losing consciousness".

The publication reports that the designer was "in a coma" and "never woke up".

Her bold and distinctive label, Carla Zampatti, is ubiquitous with Australian fashion and has been worn by countless high-profile women including Princess Mary of Denmark, former Prime Minister Julia Gillard and actors Nicole Kidman and Cate Blanchett.

Zampatti was remembered as 'Australia’s most successful and enduring fashion designer' in a statement posted to her fashion label's Instagram account on Saturday afternoon.

Bianca Spender and Carla Zampatti arrive at the 2015 Women of Style Awards at Carriageworks on May 13, 2015 in Sydney, Australia
Carla Zampatti with her daughter Bianca Spender, who is also a fashion designer, at the 2015 Women of Style Awards. Photo: Getty Images.

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