Carla Zampatti with her daughter Bianca Spender. Click for more photos

Dreaming of a haute Christmas

Carla Zampatti with her daughter Bianca Spender. Photo: Georgia Willis

  • Carla Zampatti with her daughter Bianca Spender.
  • Carla Zampatti's Woollahra home.
  • Carla Zampatti's Mediterranean-inspired home.
  • Carla Zampatti's Mediterranean-inspired home.
  • Carla Zampatti's home.
  • Carla Zampatti loves adding subtle touches to her decorations.
  • Carla Zampatti prefers a subtle style of Christmas.
  • Carla Zampatti with her daughter Bianca Spender.

Australian fashion royalty Carla Zampatti prefers to share a simple, understated Christmas Day with family and friends in the home she has owned for 37 years.

Zampatti spends the festive day with her three children - Alex Schuman, Allegra Spender and Bianca Spender - their partners and her seven grandchildren in her 1920s Mediterranean-inspired Woollahra abode. They all know to expect a day filled with sentiment, elegance and simplicity.

Italian generosity also plays a big part in the Zampatti Christmas, and invitations go out to friends she calls her ''Christmas orphans''.

''Last year I had two wonderful male French friends who I invited to lunch with us,'' she says. ''When they found out I didn't have time to organise a tree they insisted on bringing a fresh one on the day.''

Each year the family brings dedicated dishes for the Christmas lunch, while Zampatti looks after the setting and provides drinks and desserts. ''Mum will always set the scene and when we arrive around 11am she will give us jobs to do,'' fashion designer Bianca says.

The house, with its period features and ornate windows, provides an impressive setting for a simple display.

''I love adding subtle touches like white-ribbon bows and gold and white glass balls on the tree,'' Zampatti says. ''I never use tinsel because this cheapens the look.''