Franca Sozzani. Not only fashion
Face to face with Franca Sozzani, editor-in-chief of Vogue Italia
She is one of the fashion world’s most feared and well-respected faces. In a career studded with so many successes, Vogue Italia’s famous director takes most pride in having pushed out the boundaries of the magazine, so that the “biggest media of all time” now addresses social issues too. As Ambassador of the United Nations World Food Program, Franca Sozzani will be one of the stars in the Condé Nast International Luxury Conference, on in Florence from 22nd to 23rd April.
Florence is the perfect mix of art, fashion, food and location. What does it mean to bring Condé Nast’s most important event to this city?
Florence boasts an incredibly long history of tradition, culture and cuisine. It is a happy island and a huge tourist attraction that is also capable of ensuring a good standard of living. One of the reasons we decided to bring the event here is precisely because it represents the centre of everything. When you talk about Italian tradition, from the Renaissance on, you think of Florence. It is right to start from here.
What is the value of fashion today and what should it communicate?
Fashion is the largest media that exists. People feel they can talk about it; it is a fast-moving scene. When you talk about fashion people understand, they discuss and participate. It has a global value that should also express ethical values: with such large numbers and prices getting lower all the time, it should be understood that some things just are not possible, that fair trade exists and should be respected. Unfortunately, that is not always the case.
From the printed page to the web, what is the future of communication?
We’re moving more and more towards the web and its one minute wonders; it does not matter if they do not last, they work and they get accepted. The web is an interesting phenomenon because it gives people the chance to express themselves, often however, at the expense of quality. The big challenge is to provide quality alongside quantity.
How did Franca Sozzani discover fashion?
I was 17 and the first shop in Milan to introduce pret-a-porter asked its customers’ daughters to come and model for them (she laughs, editor). I fell in love with Yves Saint Laurent and the whole of the fashion world.
You are a very determined woman. Has there ever been a time when you thought you wouldn’t make it? What has helped you keep going?
Every day I think I won’t make it..., I challenge myself. If I didn’t have these fears, then perhaps I wouldn’t have done what I have done.
All systems go for Expo Milano. What do you expect from this great event, how will Vogue Italia participate and what do you wish for the city of Milan?
This is such a big event, not just for Milan but for the whole of Italy, that I expect it to be organised to the very best of its potential. We will be participating in various activities with all number of projects related to the theme and, as Ambassador for the United Nations, we will be bringing together food, fashion and design. What do I wish? Success. Success for Milan and for all of us.
As an opinion leader in the fashion world, what trends do you see in the world of food today?
Everything is related. There is mass distribution in fashion, where you can buy anything at incredibly low prices, and then there is quality which is part of research and research is expensive because finding new ideas, fabrics and elements has its price. I believe food is the same: some products are more expensive because they involve diverse factors, different farming techniques and a different kind of respect for nature. In the same way, fashion is about large-scale quantity, but a niche has also been created, an increasingly large one at that, of people who want a certain kind of quality. In the food industry, we will also be seeing much more research.
Florence and Milan are the capitals of Italian style. For you, style equals …?
Personality. For many people fashion means trends, while it is actually something more intimate than that. You express yourself through your clothes: style is part of who you are.