The iconic Editor-in-Chief of Vogue Italia passed away in Milan on Thursday

After a year long illness, Vogue Italia Editor-in-Chief, Franca Sozzani, passed away in Milan at the age of 66.

For nearly three decades Sozzani was a charismatic and dynamic visionary who lead Vogue Italia to become a global powerhouse. Along the way she championed innovation often supplying talents like Fabien Baron, Steven Meisel, Peter Lindbergh, Herb Ritts, Paolo Roversi, and Bruce Weber a home to fine tune their voice. Her vision for the magazine was uniquely singular bridging the worlds of art, architecture, beauty, film, and music. That bridge lead to her becoming Editorial Director of Condé Nast Italia in 1994.

Her first issue for Vogue Italia was for July/August 1988, and featured a sepia black and white Steven Meisel photo with the single cover line “Il Nuovo Stile.” That style was a by product of being born in 1950 in Mantua, Italy, studying Philosophy and Germanic Literature at university in Milan, and rising through the ranks from her first assistant role at Vogue Bambini.

The minute Franca became the Editor-in-Chief of Italian Vogue she turned the world of fashion magazines upside down. Creatively uncompromising, and definitely fearless, she did exactly what she wanted. I feel privileged to have had the chance to work with her those early years at the magazine when so much was going on, this “Nuovo Stile”, as she had titled her first cover which we shot with Steven Meisel. At Italian Vogue, she was the flame that ignited everything around her. She certainly sparked my own fire and defined whom I would later become as a Creative Director. I will miss her dearly.

– Fabien Baron

Her approach as an editor was fearless and that of a maverick willing to take on controversy with as much vigor as style stories. Her 2005 “Makeover Madness” story tackled societies obsession with plastic surgery and featured a portfolio by Steven Meisel featuring Linda Evangelista, Julia Stegner, Missy Rayder and others. In 2008 she championed the Black Issue featuring an entire issue with women of color. In 2014 she tackled the controversial subject of domestic violence with “Horror Movie” by Steven Meisel.

Sozzani’s philanthropy included being the creative director of Convivio, the AIDS initiative that Gianni Versace launched in 1992. She also founded Child Priority with Jonathan Newhouse of Condé Nast, to create work and career opportunities for underprivileged children. Later Sozzani took on the role of Global Ambassador against hunger for the United Nations World Food Programme as well as Goodwill Ambassador for Fashion 4 Development.

Sozzani is survived by her son Francesco Carrozzini who in the last year of her life produced a documentary about his mother, She is also survived by her sister, Carla Sozzani, the founder of 10 Corso Como.

The Impression will sorely miss fashion’s passionate Italian tastemaker who defied tradition, ushered in a new era of visual language, and championed newness. The world has been made more colorful because of her and we are grateful for it.