Take Five: Remembering Franca Sozzani

Amidst the busy schedule of the recent Milan Fashion Week, the movers, shakers and industry stalwarts of fashion took a moment to gather in the Duomo, the city’s massive Gothic cathedral, to pause and pay tribute to Franca Sozzani. 

Sozzani, who was the editor-in-chief of Vogue Italia, died last December at age 66.

The New York Times reported that almost everyone from fashion had flown in for the service. Stella McCartney, Christopher Bailey, Victoria Beckham, Phoebe Philo and Sarah Burton flew in from London; while Alber Elbaz, Bruno Frisoni, Sidney Toledano and François-Henri Pinault came from Paris. 

Valentino's Pierpaolo Piccioli, Dior's Maria Grazia Chiuri, Giorgio Armani, Miuccia Prada and Valentino Garavani were there; so, too, were the supermodels Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell and Eva Herzigova, and the photographers Mario Testino, Peter Lindbergh and Mario Sorrenti. Members of the Fendi, Versace, Pucci, Missoni and Ferretti families were in attendance, as was Matteo Renzi, the former Italian prime minister, and Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, the former first lady of France.

Sozzani, who was once described by NYT as “a daring and often impious iconoclast on the newsstand”, was widely respected for reshaping the job of a fashion editor during her 28 years tenure at the helm of Italian Vogue. 

Indeed, Sozzani was a game changer to the fashion industry; often using her magazine as a platform for activism, tackling controversial topics like race, domestic violence, plastic surgery and drug addiction. 

VCurvy, launched in 2011, featured tips and news for the full-figured, and staffed by plus sized bloggers.

Issues of her magazine included “The Black Issue” (which featured only models of colour), “Makeover” (dedicated to the exploding phenomenon of plastic surgery) and most recently “Rebranding Africa”.

Sozzani was ahead of her peers in tackling issues that have plagued the fashion industry since the very beginning. In 2011, she spearheaded the launch of Vogue Curvy (or VCurvy). Staffed by plus-size bloggers, the site featured fashion tips for the full-figured.

Before its launch, Sozzani said that the new Curvy site is "a channel where you may find out that a size 16 makes you happier than a size 0, and where having curves equals to being sexy and self-confident," she wrote. "Successful models and actresses who have embraced their curves and become style-icons tell you how to look stylish despite your size, without renouncing the latest trends."

Not many know this but Vogue Curvy is  actually the second spinoff from Vogue Italia. Three years earlier, in July 2008, the Italian editrix launched Vogue Black, which featured all black models. They partnered with CW network's Tyra Banks as a "special correspondent from the US," as well as writers from AfroBella.com.

The tribute film

It must be remembered that Vogue Italia is famous as the world’s most experimental fashion magazine. Its impressive editorial spreads which tackled global issues and discussions in pictures has been widely used as "tearsheets" by many stylists and fashion editors. 

Indeed, the death of Sozzani is a great loss to the fashion industry. 

Now, its legendary editor-in-chief Franca Sozzani has been profiled in a new documentary, Franca: Chaos and Creation. 

For the docu-film, Sozzani worked with her son, the 34-year-old Francesco Carrozzini, a successful fashion photographer and filmmaker in his own right. The story is partially told by her, and partially by home movies of family vacations. 

While screening schedules for Singapore have not been released yet (watch this space for information!), trailers for the film have been circulating the internet, and offered a glimpse into the world of the Italian icon. 

Check out the trailer below: