“I like to be risky every day, changing minds every day”

- Franca Sozzani

Very few people have influenced the fashion industry more than Franca Sozzani; Editor in Chief of Italian Vogue since 1987, she’s redefined fashion photography and helped to establish the phenomenon of the supermodel.

During her reign as the powerhouse behind Italian Vogue, Sozzani has very rarely shied away from controversy. Pioneering the contentious 2008 ‘Black’ issue of Italian Vogue, she’s also ‘commissioned provocative studies of subjects such as the paparazzi and rehab clinics that have fearlessly taken on the obsessions, addictions, and crises of contemporary culture’, not forgetting her radical response to the 2010 BP oil spill, where she featured model Kristen McMenamy wearing a fur coat drenched in oil. Quite simply, France Sozzani has confirmed that the fashion industry has an influence that is far greater than fleeting trends and unnecessary extravagance.

Notably, Interview Magazine documented Franca’s career and expressed their appreciation for her work concerning diversity:

“Franca has transformed the magazine into a platform for celebrating the power of the image and of photography. In the process, she has helped re-imagine the medium of the fashion magazine as a kind of cultural lightning rod, and has consistently used both fashion and fashion imagery as a vehicle for tackling social, political, and even environmental issues.”

Last year Sozzani continued to preempt the zeitgeist by featuring three plus-sized models on the cover of the June 2011 issue. Stephen Meisel shot models Tara Lynn, Candice Huffine and Robyn Lawley embracing their curves in sultry black lingerie. Continuing her battle against pro-anorexia websites and blogs, Sozzani has also launched a ‘curvy’ section on the Vogue.it website:

“I did some research and found that there are countless pro-anorexia websites and blogs that not only support the disorder, but also urge young people to be competitive about their “body shape”. Fashion has been always blamed as one of the culprits of anorexia, and our commitment is the proof that fashion is ready to get on the frontline and struggle against the disorder.”

- Franca Sozzani

More recently, Franca made an appearance at Harvard University to discuss the conflict-ridden issues of body image. Appearing alongside Huffington Post president and editor-in-chief, Arianna Huffington, and supermodel/actress, Amber Valetta, Sozzani took to her blog to muse over her forthcoming appearance at the event:

“I spent so many hours studying each and every lecture given on eating habits, anorexia, obesity and so on. It’s a commitment and nothing must be left to chance. You speak and know that each word carries weight and consequences. It’s a matter of seriousness, especially in front of a young audience. You may influence or annoy them, but you must in any case keep them interested”

Addressing some of the most contentious issues affecting the contemporary fashion industry, Franca Sozzani has joined an a elite group including Diane von Furstenberg, Anna Wintour, Michael Kors, and Natalia Vodianova who have also addressed Harvard regarding parallel issues. Complete with integrity, humour and intelligence, All Walks says ‘All hail Franca Sozzani’.

Post by Charmaine Ayden
Editor Charlotte Gush, on Twitter @CavaCharlotte

Charmaine Aydenis a Fashion Communication graduate from Northumbria University. An avid admirer of all things ‘glossy’, she set her heart on a career in Fashion Journalism from a young age.

Having undertaken work placements with Vogue, WSGN, ASOS, Drapers and Glamour Magazine, Charmaine is currently working as Copy and Features Writer for Brownsfashion.com.

Check out Charmaine’s blog The Good is the Beautiful and find her on Twitter @CharmaineAyden