Franca Sozzani: Brilliantly Disturbing

Vogue Italia Vogue Italia

Si è recentemente spenta a soli 66 anni Franca Sozzani, la “signora italiana della moda”. Il mondo delle passerelle piange la scomparsa della storica direttrice di Vogue Italia, deceduta  per una grave malattia contro cui ha combattuto senza clamore nell’ultimo periodo della sua vita. Mantovana, forte e sicura di sé, sempre disponibile a conversare con tutti, a dire apertamente la propria opinione in ogni circostanza. La sua brillante carriera inizia all’età di 25 anni, quando scopre una fortissima passione per la moda. Negli anni ‘70 entra a far parte della redazione di Vogue Bambino, per poi passare alla direzione della rivista femminile LEI. Subito dopo le viene affidata anche quella della versione maschile LUI, in virtù degli ottimi risultati ottenuti. Dal 1988 sarà la nuova direttrice della versione italiana di Vogue. Lei stessa ha sempre sostenuto: “Il successo bisogna guadagnarlo, bisogna inventarlo”.

The Editor of Italian Vogue who “disturbed” her readers with outrageous photoshoots and frank opinions passed away from her battle with cancer on December 22, 2016 at the age of 66. Sozzani was born and raised in Mantua, studying Germanic language and literature and philosophy in Milan before graduating from the Universita Cattolica del Sacro Cuore (University of the Sacred Heart) in 1973.

Her career began as a secretary at Conde Nast, an NYC-based mass media company with offices worldwide. Sozzani worked her way up through editorial to an assistant at the children’s fashion magazine Vogue Bambini in 1976. Her accomplishments with Vogue Bambini landed her the editorship roles at both Lei and Per Lui magazines. These magazines were younger and ‘looser’ in presentation than anything in Italy.

In 1988 she became editor-in-chief of Vogue Italia, then dull and not very widely circulated. She recruited narrative photographers and storytellers, namely Steven Meisel, Bruce Weber, Peter Lindbergh, and Paolo Roversi, giving them complete creative freedom to choose their models and subjects, encouraging them to experiment and take chances with their work. And, they did. Franca expected her staff and contributors to take responsibility for their own work, although she proudly took the flak for public risks. Sozzani was known for including topics and issues in her magazine which other fashion publications avoided: domestic violence, drug abuse, rehab. In 2008, she used only black models in “The Black Issue” (which had to be reprinted twice to meet demand). Her August 2010 edition featured model Kristen McMenamy beached and contaminated in black, oil-slicked pelts following the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. She often expressed frustration that modern fashion followers lacked an understanding of current social issues and history and that fashion stories lacked the depth of context.

Sozzani contributed to a number of charitable organizations and was awarded multiple honors for her work. Her bold, frank stance on the world of fashion literature created an everlasting legacy that is, surely, unmatched.