Fashionable Christmas … Carla Zampatti (at left) and her daughter Bianca Spender in the family kitchen.

Fashionable Christmas … Carla Zampatti (at left) and her daughter Bianca Spender in the family kitchen. Photo: Vanessa Levis

When it comes to spending Christmas with fashion doyenne Carla Zampatti and her family, expect a day filled with sentiment, elegance and simplicity.

Zampatti shares 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.

Italian generosity plays a big part in a Zampatti Christmas. Invitations go out to friends who 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," says fashion designer Bianca.

The void above the kitchen is enlivened by a wall sculpture made by Catriona using wooden furniture legs from IKEA. [photo: Armelle Habib] Click for more photos

Home of the week

The void above the kitchen is enlivened by a wall sculpture made by Catriona using wooden furniture legs from IKEA. [photo: Armelle Habib]

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," says Zampatti.

"I never use tinsel because this cheapens the look."