Franca Sozzani Editor in Chief of Italian Vogue Dies at 66

Franca Sozzani was an Italian journalist and editor-in-chief of Vogue Italia from 1988 to 2016.

Franca Sozzani was an Italian journalist and editor-in-chief of Vogue Italia from 1988 to 2016.

In the 1990s, Sozzani helped create the phenomenon of the supermodel with one of her closest long-term collaborators, Steven Meisel, and she championed a group of photographers such as Bruce Weber, Peter Lindbergh, and Paolo Roversi.

Memorable issues of her magazine include “The Black Issue” (an entire issue devoted to celebrate black women’s beauty), “Makeover” (dedicated to the exploding phenomenon of plastic surgery and most recently L’Uomo Vogue “Rebranding Africa”, for which she was awarded several international prizes.

Photographed by Bruce Weber, Vogue, October 2016
Photographed by Bruce Weber, Vogue, October 2016

“The Black Issue”

The July 2008 issue featured only black models, photographed by Steven Meisel and the articles pertained to black women in the arts and entertainment. The magazine claimed to showcase black models in response to anger caused by the disinclination of fashion magazines to display black models on their covers. Fashion industry insiders claim black models are featured less often because they are unable to sell. This statement, along with the formation of a protest group in New York City that challenges racism in the industry, convinced Italian Vogue’s editor, Franca Sozzani to create this issue.

The issue included established supermodels like Vivien Tan, Yasmin Warsame, Alek Wek, Rachel D. Vancelette, Veronica Webb, Noemie Lenoir, Iman, Liya Kebede, Tyra Banks and Naomi Campbell, as well as contemporary models, including Jourdan Dunn, Chanel Iman, Arlenis Sosa, and Sessilee Lopez.



Plus-sized Models

This specific issue also brought in Toccara Jones, the first black plus-sized models to be in the pages of the high fashion magazine. Instead of the issue not selling, it became the highest selling issue of Italian Vogue ever, and had run out of print twice, which marked the first time in Condé Nast history that the magazine reprinted an issue to satisfy demand. The reprinted copies had the tag lines: “Most Wanted Issue Ever” and “First Reprint” banded across the front.


Once asked to define style, she replied, “Today there is not just one. I think people should buy more mirrors than clothes, to see themselves before going out … but I think that clothes need to correspond to one’s own personality. That is style.”

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