Franca Sozzani and what fashion is really about

Franca Sozzani


What fashion is really about

Franca Sozzani was the ultimate fashion editor. The longest serving editor in chief of any Vogue (alongside Anna Wintour), Franca was a political provocateur of the fashion industry and never apologised for it.
She brought a power to Italian Vogue that took its name to heights far greater than could have been predicted, never taking the conventional path, but instead blatantly choosing to provoke and face social issues in a way that challenged readers and advertisers alike.

When Franca visited London in the late 60’s she was changed forever, opening up her mind to ways you can break the mould and never look back.

“ When I went to London, it changed me completely: not only my approach to clothes but even my way of living. We were breathing a completely antiestablishment kind of air. Maybe in my head I never came back. ”

Franca Sozzani. First Issue. Vogue Italia, August 1988. Photograph Steven Meisel



She gave creative control fully to photographers, fully knowing that fashion can only change through the power of a photographer’s eye. Her protege, the one to shoot her first cover and every one of them since, was fashion photographer Steven Meisel. One of the most influential eyes in the industry, his photographs reflected Franca’s spirit, taking innumerable risks, never afraid to do want he feels is most natural – connecting with models on a human level and bringing out everything that’s best in them.

He creates controversial layouts through challenging social standards. He approached the delicate concept of terrorism right after September 11, with models portraying terrorists and policemen, or always creating a response to the heavy-handed racism in fashion through the best-selling issue of Italian Vogue – using only black models.



“ The one thing that taking pictures allows you to do is occasionally make a larger statement. ”

Saskia de Brauw by Steven Meisel, Vogue Italia, March 2014



“ You need to be light in life, ” Sozzani explains in the film. “ Lightness for me is when being profound allows you to fly high. ”

Franca was widely recognised past the fashion industry as she got involved in all she thought was important – contributed to a number of charities, founded Child Priority offering opportunities to the artistically gifted, worked with AIDS organisations, was president of the European Institute of Oncology Foundation, global ambassador for the United Nations World Food Programme – and this is just naming a few. Her honour remains alive and you can experience it directly.

Her son, Francesco Carrozzini, directed and brought out Franca: Chaos and Creation, and showed what stood behind the fierce, blatant professional who kept her private life private – a mother that always embodied courage, gentleness and love.



Steven Meisel for Vogue Italia



Another tribute to the “chicest of the Vogue editors” (Marchetti), is a project that is completely her – her Private Collection, which can be viewed online. Combining fashion, culture, art and design, her personal wardrobe was displayed in an archive sale, with the efforts of her family and close friends. Her personal style reflected her daring personality, as she truly wore and presented a raw and true-to-self image.

The five categories of her personal garments — “The Eclectic”, “The Black Tale”, “The Londoner”, “The Unconventional” and “The Dream Dimension” celebrate her honour fully and symbolise all she stood for in a simple way. In the way fashion was never about clothes for Franca, but about life.



“ It was important for me to do something different. ”

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