Hue knew: Allegra Spender on the secret behind her teal suit


Teal is Macquarie Dictionary's Word of the Year for 2022 - as a nod to the independent candidates including Allegra Spender who were elected in historic victories at the federal election.


“It’s hard to go past teal as an emblem of Australia’s political landscape in 2022. It’s not a brand-new word, but it is a brand-new sense that no-one saw coming," said the wordsmiths at Macquarie Dictionary.

Or did they? As Allegra Spender told a packed Women on Boards lunch last week, her late mother - fashion designer, businesswoman and trend-setting Carla Zampatti - was all over teal before it even became a buzzword (and a political hue soon to be linked to her daughter). 

"Would she have approved of the colour teal? Yes I think so - although no-one really knows what the colour teal is,” said Allegra.

“Actually one of the suits I wear often, which is most associated with The Teals, even though it's not actually teal, is one of my mum’s old suits. I wear it and I think of her. Everyone says ‘Oh, you're wearing teal’. It’s not actually teal, but it’s Mum’s suit and it says the same thing.”

Speaking to more than 80 Women on Boards members at a lunch at The Women’s Club in Sydney, Allegra talked about why her mother would have been her biggest supporter when decided to go into Parliament. 

“She would have said, ‘Go girl,’” said Allegra. “But also my Dad lost his seat to an Independent and mum was quite involved with the Liberal Party for a number of years, so there might have been a moment there.

“But I think more than anything, mum was an economic migrant from the Second World War and a businesswoman and she didn’t like how we were treating our new refugees. She wanted us to be that kind, welcoming country that we could be. And also she couldn't stand being told what to do by men.”

Allegra said her Mum’s hard work and belief that women could do anything had a huge influence on her.

“I was very lucky to have had a woman like Mum who showed me that you could be a good mum and you could pursue what you thought was important and it wouldn't be easy, but that it was okay.

“If she were here today she would be so delighted to be in a room of women who were taking on the world, because that's what she believes women should do. And that's how I grew up and what has a huge influence on me.”

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