Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Personal style: Franca Sozzani



I think there’s something undeniably sophisticated about the editor-in-chief of Vogue Italia, hard to pin at first glance. Maybe it’s the confidence that comes from her utmost ease with herself, which shows in her demeanor and the way she carries her clothes, even if they’re not new or current-season. This idea of comfort is evident in her thoughts on creativity and mixing things.

Some words from an April 2007 interview with IQONS co-founder Rafael Jimenez and contributor Barbara Grispini below.

On newness and creativity

RJ: Yes, also London is fresh because the clothes are not necessarily from designers; kids create their own look from vintage and any range of stores. They do a lot of research.

FS: If the kids do it, it’s different. What I find unacceptable today are the fashion editors, the designers and fashion people dressing that way. It looks old...



RJ: So, where do you think the creativity lies in all this?

FS: Creativity doesn’t mean being ridiculous. It’s like putting together a magazine. It’s not that if I put a naked man on the cover I’m creative…Or if I put someone in tails, I’m old. Creativity is understanding when things change. When I wanted to change L’Uomo Vogue 6 months ago it was because we had seen too much of the intimacy of men. Men had been stripped down too much! Always in a jacket without a shirt underneath, the shirt tied at the waist, the sweater tied at the hips, it was as if being modern was being embarrassed about getting dressed. If you dressed men, you were old. But that was a phase and the phase has now ended. Now, you want to see men well-dressed, but it doesn’t mean a blue suit, it means dressed with things that have been researched, even extravagant things, but extravagance can be very diverse: the 18th century was extravagant, the beginning of the 20th century was extravagant. Why does extravagance today have to mean being badly dressed?


Men dressing up

BG: There was also the big prejudice that’s disappearing now, that if a man cares about how he’s dressed, he’s gay, in term of his image...because kids always said it, but not now.

FS: But this is the result...

RJ: I thought gay men didn’t dress anymore...




FS: It ended because of the sexual revolution that took place in the 80’s. Now, who cares about how you have sex? That’s your own business, no? What is interesting is aesthetics. If you see well-dressed people every once in a while, wearing things that might be a little bizarre but that are mixed together in the right way, it’s a pleasure! It doesn’t seem strange...it’s about personal research, it’s about not being banal. Then, it’s normal that a kid protects himself within a group. And it’s not the kid that buys the magazines. The kid buys a certain type of magazine one in ten times; therefore there isn’t a loyalty of readership… When you start to achieve a certain faithfulness in readership, you see that one dresses in jeans while the other is wearing a brocade vest and tails, because that looks good too. Young people, for instance, love wearing tuxedos.

RJ: Yes! You can see them everywhere.

FS: Because it’s fun! They like getting dressed up since they’re usually dressed in jeans. So seeing someone every once and a while who wears a mix of things, of materials, colors...someone wearing a strange top, you look at them! It’s clear that black solves everyone’s problem. You dress in black, but in my opinion – especially with men- dressing all in black, not a tuxedo or a suit, but t-shirts, etc...you end up looking like someone from the ‘80’s or at any rate not from today. We like seeing a guy with something a little different. The other day in NY I saw a guy wearing a strange vest, a shirt, a sweater, a big jacket. He looked great. He must have been 25 or 26. To be expressive means neither being gay nor the banality of whatever is supposedly “trendy” that you can’t stand. Who cares about those images where you just see men in their underwear?

RJ: This is what you see a lot of at the moment, in everything.




FS: I like to think that one person dresses well, another strangely, another badly, another formally… and to mix them all together in the same issue...I am crazy about Snoop Dogg, how he dresses, I find it fun...

RJ: I like him very much...

FS: He’s great because he’s created a character. It’s not that everyone needs to create a character like he has, but...


A mixed up world

FS: I did an article, I think it was last month, with him and then Baryshnikov. So, one was elegance the other craziness. In my opinion, the world today is all mixed together. Today you don’t say, there’s art, there’s fashion, there’s cinema. You put them all together. That’s the beautiful thing. It’s a shame not to take advantage of it. Getting stuck on stereotypes, like if you do a magazine with men in their underwear it’s trendy and instead if you do one with a man who is dressed, it’s not. It’s stupid, limiting...

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