Franca Sozzani, longtime editor-in-chief of Vogue Italia, passed away today. She was 66 years old.
The news of her passing comes as a shock to the industry. Earlier this month, Sozzani attended the Fashion Awards, where she was honored with the first-ever Swarovski Award for Positive Change for her work with the United Nations to end AIDS, world hunger, and cancer, as well as founding Child Priority, a non-profit organization that helps give underprivileged children opportunities for work.
But Sozzani is best known, and most revered, for her nearly three-decade tenure at Vogue Italia. She was appointed to the top position in 1988, around the same time that Anna Wintour became her counterpart at American Vogue. Where Wintour turned her publication into a successful pop-culture tome through featuring A-list celebrities, Sozzani repositioned the Italian edition as one of the most important publications in the fashion world, especially for the creative class. Photographers, stylists, make-up artists, and creative directors were seemingly given free reign to produce some of the most visually stunning and arresting work in mainstream magazines. Images were a top priority, as evidenced by the issue covers, which often featured avant-garde photography and layouts (at least in comparison to its Vogue brethren), and were famously sparse in text. Additionally, the magazine would often include supplementary issues, including a biannual couture collection review, which would be almost entirely comprised of editorials featuring the new haute couture collections.