When Fashion Meets Brilliance – An Event Honoring Fashion Icon Franca Sozzani.

Franca Sozzani, the revolutionary editor of Vogue Italia who died at age 66 one year ago this month, was consistently unorthodox, irreverent, and radical. She sought to diminish the wider preconception – often shared by those who take their seriousness extremely seriously – that fashion must be inherently trivial: Sozzani consistently challenged that assumption, and provoked howls of outrage from those whose prejudice it offended. It is no wonder that Italy has declared Franca a national treasure and seek to remember her life, legacy and contribution.


One of Franca’s largest contributions was the Vogue Italia’s 2008 Black issue. Shot by Steven Meisel – and published as Barack Obama campaigned in his first presidential campaign – it was cast entirely with black models. Critics called it racist, or a tokenistic exercise and a ghettoisation. As Sozzani recalled when interviewed in 2014:

“But the point was to highlight the lack of diversity. I was looking at the catwalks, and there were no black girls. And I just could not believe that there were not many, many beautiful black models.”

Franca Sozzani

She reprinted twice, that issue was Vogue Italia’s best-selling issue ever and went on to impact beauty norms in Europe and abroad.

Jourdan Dunn for the Vogue Italia Black issue

Last week Rome hosted a special tribute to Franca Sozzani on the anniversary of her death, Monday the 18th of December. The event “When Fashion Meets Brilliance”, was an intimate gala dedicated to the historic director of Vogue Italia and style icon of the fashion system.

Final Vogue Italia Issue by Franca Sozzani
December 2015 Vogue Italia cover shot by Tim Walker

The event, organized by Factory 4 in collaboration with the Italia Eventi Group and Oreste Fiori, included international celebrity personalities Catrinel Marlon, Alessandra Mastronardi and Valeria Bilellohosted. Guests took part in an exclusive dinner party followed by a private screening of the film “Franca: Chaos and Creation” presented by Francesco Carrozzini, photographer and director as well as the son of the famous Italian Vogue Editor. 

Franca Sozzani
Naomi Campbell and Christy Turlington for Vogue Italia

After the great success of the world premiere at the 73rd Venice International Film Festival and the big screen distribution last September, the documentary on Franca Sozzani has become a cult documentary that tells about the world of fashion and its most iconic members.

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Nichelle Cole is the founder & editor-in-chief of The Fashion Plate magazine. A respected writer, stylist and influencer, she has been published in fashion magazines around the world.

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