Franca Sozzani: An appreciation

Franca SozzaniGlossy magazine editors are, for the most part, a scary lot. I don’t know if they start out that way, but the pressure, the power and the way to wall Prada does tend to turn them into a breed apart.

Some look surprisingly normal despite the million dollar wardrobe (Alexandra Shulman, Glenda Bailey) and get by on pure professionalism. Some just are just zipped-up scary but super-professions nonetheless and nobody would dare to ignore them (Ann Wintour). And some just exude cool (Carine Roitlfeld, Emmanuelle Alt).

There there was Vogue Italian suprema Franca Sozzani. If she had to fit into any of those categories it would have been the last. But she was more than just super-cool because it always seemed that the cool factor was just one part of a pretty well-rounded whole that took in so much more than just talking about fashion.

So the UN World Food Programme was a big part of her life, as were big issues that affect fashion (race, size, gender, sustainability and more).

Franca SozzaniAnd getting back to the shallow side of things, she certainly did look great. Always smiling (in an industry where a scowl/pout is the favoured facial expression), her tiny frame, the shock of wavy blonde hair, a great way with colour and print, and a deceptively simple fashion style (a dress or skirt, a shirt or cardigan, a coat and – frequently – flats) made me feel there’s hope for the rest of us wavy-haired, vertically challenged, ageing individuals with a much less generous clothing budget than she had.

Franca SozzaniOf course, as her fondness for some of my favourite labels (Alaïa, Prada, Stella Jean, Valentino) shows, access to expensive stuff always helps if you want to look good and be an influencer. But it doesn’t take much to imagine her style adapted for a tighter budget. And her habit of not necessarily wearing the latest collections but sticking with old favourites was a habit aped by those of us who only shop in the sales or on eBay/Vestiaire Collective.

Anyway, it’s hard to write something nice about someone who’s died without straying too far into the realms of “the greatest human being who ever lived” territory. So I’ll stop here… apart from saying she seemed nice, she did good work (and good works) and she looked cool. Not a bad epitaph for anyone.

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