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Rediff News  All News  » Getahead » Franca Sozzani: A fashion editor who bent all rules

Franca Sozzani: A fashion editor who bent all rules

December 26, 2016 17:10 IST

The 'uncompromising' Franca Sozzani was a journalist and fashion editor miles ahead of her counterparts. 

We bring you highlights from the late Italian trendsetter's life.

Franca Sozzani

IMAGE: The late Franca Sozzani. Photograph: Kind courtesy Franca Sozzani/Instagram

Former editor-in-chief Vogue Italia Franca Sozzani passed away December 22.

A name to reckon with in the fashion industry, she held her position in the magazine for 28 years (1988 to 2016) during which she created some iconic covers. More importantly she was responsible for an evolution in the way audiences looked at models and glamour industry professionals.

Iconic moments in the illustrious career of Franca Sozzani:

1. She courted controversy by creating an 'all-black' cover

Vogue cover

IMAGE: Not one to shy away from being in the eye of a storm, Franca's greatest achievement was the all-black July 2008 issue, featuring models of colour like Liya Kebede, Sessilee Lopez, Jourdan Dunn and Naomi Campbell. Franca dared to go where other editors wouldn't and scored well.
The cover was re-printed three times and made its mark on fashion history. 

Photograph: Kind courtesy Naomi Campbell/Instagram

2. She was an incredible editor. Models vouched for her

Franca and Liya

IMAGE: Model Liya Kebede, right, who was part of the incredible all-black issue recently posted on Instagram a picture with late Franca. Her caption: 'To one of the most incredible woman I have ever known. I will always remember your elegance, your generosity and your smile full of life. Thank you for always looking after me. I will miss you dearly'.

Photograph: Kind courtesy Liya Kebede/Instagram

3. She showed the world that curves are good

Vogue Cover

IMAGE: Franca celebrated body diversity with a plus-size issue, putting Tara Lynn, Candice Huffine and Robyn Lawley on the cover, in their lingerie.
Plus-size model Candice Huffine posted this cover on Instagram: 'Very sad to find out about #francasozzani passing. She was a visionary and took bold steps when no one else was. She nurtured talent (Steven Meisel was one of them) fought for the art of it. I'm forever grateful for this cover it is still my favourite and it took @vogueitalia and @francasozzani1 to understand beauty is beyond size. #RIP'

Photograph: Kind courtesy Candice Huffine/Instagram

4. Her life was the stuff of documentaries

Franca and her son on the magazine cover

IMAGE: Franca: Chaos and Creation, a movie on her life, directed by her son Francesco Carrozzini, premiered at the Venice Film Festival September 2016. The most influential names in fashion -- German designer Karl Lagerfeld, fashion photographer Bruce Weber, artists Marina Abramović and Jeff Koons and film director Baz Luhrmann -- express their views in the film on Sozzani’s work and persona. The documentary took six years to make. Not surprising considering the legends she has worked with from across the world. 

Photograph: Franca and her son Francesco Carrozzini on the cover of The Observer Magazine.

5. She was an ambassador for the United Nations

Franca Sozzani

IMAGE: In 2012, Sozzani was appointed ambassador for the UN. She has since then been associated with charities fighting poverty, hunger and finding opportunities for the less privileged.
Earlier this month, Sozzani received the First Swarovski Award for Positive Change in London.
Franca believed that fashion could be much more. She reportedly told the Financial Times, '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'.

Photograph: Kind courtesy Franca Sozzani/Instagram

6. She was a visionary and a fashion hero

Vogue cover

IMAGE: Model Carolyn Murphy captioned this image on Instagram: 'The title of this issue 'Multifaceted Women' was a genius example of Franca and her foresight, honoured to have graced this cover ❤ #francasozzani #stevenmeisel.'

Franca used fashion to communicate and during the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, she created a cover with models washed up on a beach, covered in oil. 

Photograph: Kind courtesy Carolyn Murphy/Instagram

7. She gave Karlie Kloss the tag of the 'new body'

Karlie Kloss

IMAGE: Back in 2011, Karlie Kloss stripped for an issue of Vogue Italia, flaunting her flawless figure. The 19 year old was seen standing in nothing but stiletto heels and a sombrero hat.
At the time, the moniker of the (new body of modelling) had been unanimously reserved for veteran model Elle Macpherson, but Vogue Italia editor Franca Sozzani went against the tide. She believed Kloss was more deserving of the accolade.

Photograph: Cover of Vogue Italia, December 2011
Anita Aikara /