Franca Sozzani held the position of editor-in-chief of Vogue Italia for 28 years, before sadly passing away in December 2016. Born in Mantua, Italy, Sozzani studied Philosophy and Germanic Literature at university. She was known for her philanthropic work and is a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations. Her sister, Carla Sozanni, founded the much-lauded concept store 10 Corso Como. Additionally, Sozzani acted as editorial director of Condé Nast Italia since 1994.
During her tenure at the magazine, Sozzani did not shy away from controversy, commissioning and helming issues on fashion’s weight debate, plastic surgery and her landmark all-black issue. She also addressed issues she saw fit to in her blog and at public speaking events, which have included addressing Harvard’s student union on fashion’s approach to body image.
Sozzani told the Financial Times, “I don’t think I am writer, in the same way I don’t call myself a humanitarian. I would never pretend to those labels. I’m like a normal person with curiosity. Here’s what I think: fashion isn’t really about clothes. It’s about life. Go into the street, and you see it: everyone can afford fashion on some level, everyone can talk about it. So what else can we say? We can’t always be writing about flowers and lace and aquamarine.”
Renowned as Condé Nast’s fashion photography power-house, Italian Vogue and Sozzani have championed the careers of Bruce Weber, Peter Lindbergh, Ellen von Unwerth and Paolo Roversi. In an age when print circulations were dramatically falling, Sozzani’s image-based approach saw the magazine’s circulation figures consistently rise. The July 2008 “All Black” issue, featuring only models of colour on the cover and across all editorial, was reprinted twice.