The notorious global fashion publication loses a significant face to its beautiful and stunning platform with the passing of Franca Sozzani.
At just the young age of 66, this bright and lively character left our world to enter her shining new runway in the sky.
Sozzani was born in Mantua, Italy, and her father, much like any foreign father at the time with a very firm traditional lifestyle perspective, was an industrial engineer with no interest in his daughter studying physics as she wished. And so, to his wishes, she went to Milan to study philosophy and literature, and then reluctantly was married. With a divorce three months later, she set out to accomplish big dreams and journey on a path of self-discovery by traveling to India and then to London. She had once said to Vogue, “I thought it was time to do something good with my life.”
She began working at Vogue Bambini as just a mere assistant (like an internship to a college student today)and by the 1980’s she was promoted to Editorship of Lei where she, according to Vogue, “transformed both these titles into showcases for the most dynamic trends in international fashion and lifestyle image-making.” She was the hub of talent and creation where she hosted some of the best up-and-coming photographers in the world like Mario Testino, Paolo Roversi, Herb Ritts, Peter Lindbergh, Bruce Weber, and Steven Meisel. She herself had a love for the art.
It’s funny to think about how her life took a turn for the better as a woman who once asked “why would anyone buy Italian Vogue? They wouldn’t—only Italians read Italian.” Her own inquisitive nature challenged her to push through the boundaries and pave the course that would lead a movement to communicate fashion via visuals and showcase.
During her lifetime, she had one child, Francesco, who is also a creative spirit, and is someone whom she was very close to. At one point, being an avid filmmaker, the son produced what would be a documentary on his mother’s life titled, Franca: Chaos and Creation (2016).
Franca was a remarkable human being who knew materials and fabrics and the angles of a human as if they were skin of her own body. With her creative comrades she forged her own path and rallied her own artistic army who would pioneer through the fashion domain via their advertising campaigns triumphantly. Her world was built upon aspects of originality and uniqueness like no other.
In 1988, she given the Editor in Chief position of Italian Vogue, and with ease, she immediately took the reigns of the magazine and carried it through a whimsical reputation of being “extravagant, experimental, innovative.”
She released her first issue back in July/August of 1988, Il Nuovo Stile.
She was known as “a maverick spirit.” Sozzani was so incredibly passionate about Vogue and its innovation that she allowed her imagination to run wild. She was provocative, she was controversial, she was a fire within a forest, and the wave within a storm. She forced a strength upon fashion like no other and that fallen fashionista will live on as a legend to the realms of artistic garment and vision. She tackled some of life’s greatest social and cultural quarrels through this medium.
In 2008, she put together the Black Issue, where she touched upon the topics of diversity in the fashion industry. Model, Naomi Campbell, of one of the many cover images of that series, noted “Franca doesn’t realize what she’s done for people of color.”
An avid philanthropist as well, Sozzani, promoted young designers through her Who Is on Next? initiative. She served as the creative director of Convivio, an AIDS initiative formed by designer Gianni Versace and launched back in 1992. She then helped co-found Child Priority, an enterprise to help underprivileged kids find and receive work opportunities. Moving forward, she was appointed global ambassador against hunger for the United Nations World Food Programme. Her main focus within that organization was to empower and educate girls around the world. It is without a doubt that Sozzani was one of a kind. This fallen star was most certainly the definition of a statement necklace that brought a vibrance and boldness to any ordinary outfit.
Sozzani once asserted, “Fashion isn’t really about clothes, it’s about life.”
Further References: Vogue