23-Nov, 06:49

11:49, February 28 718 0

2017-02-28 11:49:04
Pausing to Remember Franca Sozzani, Italian Vogue Editor

MILAN — Milan and the rest of the fashion world stepped off the ready-to-wear hamster wheel this week to pay tribute to Franca Sozzani, the longtime editor of Italian Vogue, who died in December at 66.

The winter sky was slate gray on Monday afternoon as the great and the good of the industry gathered in the Duomo, the city’s massive Gothic cathedral, for a service in Ms. Sozzani’s memory. Crowds thronged behind safety barriers outside as hundreds of mourners filed in.

Stella McCartney, Christopher Bailey, Victoria Beckham, Phoebe Philo and Sarah Burton flew in from London. Alber Elbaz, Bruno Frisoni, Sidney Toledano and François-Henri Pinault came from Paris. Pierpaolo Piccioli, Maria Grazia Chiuri, Giorgio Armani, Miuccia Prada and Valentino Garavani were there; so, too, were the supermodels Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell and Eva Herzigova, and the photographers Mario Testino, Peter Lindbergh and Mario Sorrenti. Members of the Fendi, Versace, Pucci, Missoni and Ferretti families were in attendance, as was Matteo Renzi, the former Italian prime minister, and Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, the former first lady of France.

The Catholic Mass, conducted in Italian, had been arranged by Giuseppe Sala, the mayor of Milan; Carlo Capasa, president of Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana, the Italian fashion industry organization; and Jonathan Newhouse, chairman and chief executive of Condé Nast International, the parent company of Italian Vogue. Before the memorial, Ms. Sozzani’s family had invited some of the attendees to a light lunch, held across the piazza from the Duomo.

Ms. Sozzani, once described by this newspaper as “a daring and often impious iconoclast on the newsstand,” was widely respected for reshaping the job of a fashion editor during her 28 years at the helm of Italian Vogue. She often used the magazine as a platform for activism, tackling controversial topics like race, domestic violence, plastic surgery and drug addiction. She also made a point of championing young and emerging talents, particularly in her home country, where the industry has often proved resistant to change.

Her niece Sara Maino, head of talent at Italian Vogue, gave one of two readings during the service. The other came from Ms. Sozzani’s only child, Francesco Carrozzini, a film director, whose documentary on his mother’s life made its debut at the Venice Film Festival in September.

Once communion had been given and the last hymn had been sung, the congregation spilled out onto the cobblestones and into their waiting cars — many to take the next plane to Paris. But for that moment, gathered in memoriam of one woman, fashion was united.