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Legendary Vogue editor Franca Sozzani dies aged 66

The long-time editor-in-chief of Vogue Italia passes away after a year-long illness

Franca Sozzani has passed away after a year-long illness, aged just 66. One of the most legendary fashion magazine editors, Sozzani was editor-in-chief of Vogue Italia – a position she had held for almost three decades.

Appointed in 1988 (the same month Anna Wintour began as editor-in-chief of US Vogue), Sozzani was a close collaborator of Steven Meisel, an early supporter of photographers such as Bruce Weber and Peter Lindbergh and partly responsible for the 90s supermodels phenomenon. She had a reputation for pushing the envelope with each and every issue of Vogue Italia, creating work that challenged fashion’s status quo. In July 2008, she released an “All Black Issue” which sold out in the US and UK in 72 hours and forced Condé Nast to reprint 60,000 extra copeis. 

Throughout her career, Sozzani advocated for emerging designers – a work that Vogue Italia continues to do, through its print and digitial publications, and through its Vogue Talents initiative. 

“Franca and I began our careers as editors in chief at around the same time, but that didn’t automatically admit us to some exclusive club where all Vogue editors are BFFs; in fact, I think for the first few years we just circled each other, quietly,” remembers US Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour. “Gradually, however, show by show and season by season, Franca and I found ourselves falling into a friendship that I am so happy and honored to say sustained itself for 30 years. That’s one thing that Franca taught me about friendship: sometimes, you really have to earn it.”

“Franca was one of those people who really was legendary,” British Vogue editor-in-chief Alexandra Shulman said. “Powerful, beautiful, intelligent and creatively adventurous, she was the perfect archetype of a Vogue editor and will be very much missed by those who have worked with her and admired her for many years.”

Earlier this month, Sozzani was celebrated at the British Fashion Awards, where her friend Tom Ford presented her with the Swarovski Award for Positive Change.

News of Sozzanni’s death comes in the wake of Franca: Chaos and Creation, a documentary by her son Francesco Carrozzini which paints a portrait of the legendary editor through interviews with Bruce Weber and Courtney Love, among others.