Memorial for Vogue Italia’s Franco Sozzani Brings Together the World’s Fashion Industry Elite

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A crowd gathered outside of Milan’s gothic Duomo cathedral, as designers and industry insiders poured inside the church for a mass in honor of Vogue Italia’s late editor in chief.

Editor in chief Franca Sozzani passed away in December, but she is certainly far from forgotten.

The mass was held at the conclusion of Milan Fashion Week and drew an impressive attendance of prominent personalities.  Local celebrity guests included the former Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, Milan’s mayor Giusseppe Sala, and Italian Chamber of Fashion president Carlo Capasa.

Guests also included acclaimed Italian designers Giorgio Armani, Miucca Prada, Alberta Ferretti, Silvia Venturini Fendi and Carla Fendi, Anna Molinari, Veronica and Gimmo Etro, Luisa Beccaria, Bruno Frisoni, Cesare Paciotti, and Donatella Versace, who arrived with model Naomi Campbell.

“I saw Franca until her last few days.  Her death has left a big empty space in the life of her family, friends and colleagues,” said Italian designer Valentino Garavani. 

Valentino’s design successors Pierpaolo Picciolo and Maria Grazia Chiuri were also present at the service.  Describing the memorial as “a recognition” or the late Vogue Italia editor’s prestige in the industry, Piccioli said, “She was a true friend for me.”

Picciolo was not the only attendee to offer words of praise for Sozzani.

“We called her bambolina,” said Rosita Missoni of Sozzani’s nickname, the Italian word for “little doll.” “When we were abroad together, all of us Italians would cozy up.  She seemed all delicate, but she was determined and had an extraordinary energy.”

Daughter Angelo Missoni expressed similar sentiments.  “She blended strength and lightness, and she had a big sense of humor.  She was always willing to help, incredibly open to listening to others.”

Burberry’s Christopher Bailey, Alexander McQueen’s Sarah Burton, Stella McCartney, Victoria Beckham, and Stephen Jones were among the British designers who gathered in Milan to pay homage.

Bailey described the services as “moving.  It was about friends sharing personal stories about a person we all admired and respected.”

“She was divine, said Spanish designer Manolo Blahnik.  “She deserved to be remembered today.”  He also commended Sozzani for the words of wisdom she left behind, like the mantra, “Be yourself and do the things you like and want to do.”

As if the plethora of designers in the audience wasn’t enough to prove Sozzani’s far-reaching influence, there was also a number of industry executives and fashion models present at the mass, as well.  Among these other prominent guests were François-Henri Pinault, Paolo Zegna, and models Kate Moss, Carla Bruni, Eva Herzigová, Mariacarla Boscono, Liya Kebede, and Anna Cleveland.

“I’ve had so many memories of Franca, but if I had to choose one, I think the event she organized for Vogue Fashion Dubai Experience in 2015 where I sang on stage was great,” said Bruni.

Sozzani’s passion for photography also gathered a group of her past collaborators, such as Mario Testino, Mario Sorrenti, and Giovanni Gastel.

During the service, the Duomo’s archpriest Gianantonia Borgonovo acknowledged Sozzani’s contributions to charity, like when she organized Convivio in 1991 to join the fight against AIDS, or Orphan Aid in 2001.

“We don’t stop at the façade of a well-built building, but we unearth the foundations,” Borgonovo said eloquently of Sozzani’s charitable intentions.

There were no speeches during the mass, however, those close to Sozzani helped orchestrate the memorial.  Sozanni’s sister Carla picked the readings for the service, which were read by daughter Sara Maino and Franca’s son Francesco Carrozzini.  Carrozzini was alongside girlfriend Bee Shafer, her mother and Vogue editor in chief Anna Wintour, and Condè Nast International chairman and CEO Jonathan Newhouse.

With fashion industry leaders joined together in Milan to honor Sozzani, it acted as a reminder of the tight-knit comradery and unity among fashion influencers around the world.

Featured Image via Wikimedia

My favorite things in life include cozy coffee shops, window-shopping, wearing the perfect outfit, or writing the most satisfying words.

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