Style: Franca

If you are truly into Style you will have at one point picked up a copy of Italian Vogue.  Either in Italy or elsewhere.

Then you should know that Franca Sozzani, the Editor in Chief of Italian Vogue, has died at 66.  Sadly she now joins musician George Michael, along with witty author/actor/ex-princess Carrie Fisher (what they all have in common is that they pushed the boundaries).  Yves Saint Laurent said “fashion fades, style is eternal” so the heavens now are alive with some serious style spirits.

 Francesco Carrozzini
Photo of Franca: Francesco Carrozzini

Franca, an ageless 66, was born in Mantua. Her father, a classic Italian patriarch, was an industrial engineer who did not approve his daughter’s early ambitions to study physics. She studied literature and philosophy at university in Milan instead, and married soon after, although she knew, as she later admitted, that the marriage was doomed before she walked into the church. (Franca would later confess that romantic relationships were the one weak link in her formidable arsenal of triumphs.) The couple divorced three months later, and the free-spirited Franca went to India to find herself—“I thought it was time to do something good with my life.” Time spent in Swinging London further nurtured her creative spirit.

When she returned from her odyssey, she stumbled into a job at Vogue Bambini(as “assistant to the assistant to the assistant,” as she playfully remembered). By 1980, she landed the editorship of Lei, aimed at young women, with Per Lui, its male counterpart, following in 1982. She transformed both these titles into showcases for the most dynamic trends in international fashion and lifestyle image-making. When Oliviero Toscani, her key photographer, moved on from her magazines, she began nurturing a dazzling talent roster of emerging photographers including Mario Testino, Paolo Roversi, Herb Ritts, Peter Lindbergh, Bruce Weber, and Steven Meisel, all of whom were attracted by the unprecedented editorial freedom that she gave them, and her passion for photography.

Why would anyone buy Italian Vogue?” she once queried, “They wouldn’t—only Italians read Italian.” She knew that she needed to communicate instead through powerful imagery, and by showcasing her photographers’ work in this way, she earned their unswerving loyalty and their willingness to work with her magazines’ negligible budgets. “When I sent all these photos to you, I would write on the package ‘personal,’ ” Weber wrote to her, “I now realize that I took them for you because you would be the only one who would understand.”

At the same time, Franca became an indispensable part of the Italian fashion scene, a shrewd power broker with an unequaled reach to its designers and the manufacturers and industrialists who keep the industry’s wheels turning.

In 1988, she was appointed Editor in Chief of Italian Voguethe same month that Anna Wintour was made the Editor in Chief at American Vogue. (By 1994, she was made Editor in Chief of Italian Condé Nast, enjoying great support from an at times long-suffering Jonathan Newhouse, the chairman of Condé Nast International.) Franca immediately shook up the formulaic title with dynamic covers and content, creating a magazine that, in her words, would be “extravagant, experimental, innovative.”

Franca’s ethereal, otherworldly beauty, with her limpid blue eyes and tumble of pale blonde Pre-Raphaelite waves, belied her indomitable personality. “I listen,” she said, “but I must go my own way.”

A maverick spirit, she turned her Vogue into a magazine that not only celebrated the power of the image, but also used fashion stories as a platform to discuss broader issues, and the obsessions of the fashionable world. Franca had a passion for, and a deep knowledge of, fashion and its history, but an ability to keep an amused distance from its modern day excesses.

She was fearless in her willingness to tackle provocative and controversial social and cultural issues through the medium of fashion shoots. (“Fashion isn’t really about clothes,” she said, “it’s about life.”)

A remarkable woman whose talent was matched by her fierce loyalty and her passion for life.

franca sozzani Photo: Peter Lindbergh
franca sozzani
Photo: Peter Lindbergh

Story (condensed): Hamish Bowles for Vogue Magazine

Franca “Chaos & Creation”

documentary I wrote about at VIFF including link to controversial trailer:  https://girlwhowouldbeking.com/2016/10/13/lifestylefilm-from-franca-to-freightened/

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Style: from land to sand

Get inspired by these bathing beauties from past to present.

Grace Kelly
Grace Kelly

It’s ALL about the Head Scarf

Rachel McAdams in one of my favourite films "The Notebook"
Rachel McAdams in one of my favourite films “The Notebook”
Who can forget Darryl Hannah in "Splash"
Who can forget Darryl Hannah in “Splash”
Liz Taylor "A Place in the Sun"
Liz Taylor “A Place in the Sun”
Rihanna getting swallowed up on the cover of "Harpers Bazaar"
Rihanna loves to take chances: on the cover of “Harper’s Bazaar”

That’s pretty much it for today

Do you have a favourite Style Icon?  I mean other than me!

style ICON:  IMAN – sensational at 60!

The Somali Supermodel with a story goes to prove that real style has no age.   She turned sixty in July and looks as good as ever. iman2What do we know about IMAN besides the obvious fact that she’s beautiful with perfect bone structure?  This is where style meets substance.

For me personally, the more I find out about her the more I like her.  A friend of mine was invited to an event at her and David Bowie’s house in New York going back a few years now and of course I asked “what was she like?”  The short answer was “very gracious” as she escorted my friend around their home.

She was born Iman Abdulmajid, the daughter of a diplomat and left her native Somalia as a refugee.

When she was a student at Nairobi University, fashion photographer Peter Beard approached her to ask about taking her picture.  She had never even seen a fashion magazine before.

She soon left Kenya, to make her first print appearance in Vogue.  She dealt with racism in the modelling industry at the time.iman1She soon became a familiar face on runways around the world and one of the first black supermodels. Iman paved the wave for all African-born beauties wanting to break into the high-fashion world.

Iman officially retired from modeling in 1989, but she has continued to influence the industry.

Her eponymous cosmetics line caters to women with skin colors that are underserved by mainstream makeup.

She is an actor, the author of two books and an outspoken activist for human rights causes.

She’s a keeper. She has been married to David Bowie for two decades.iman4

Photographed by Bruce Weber, Vogue, 1995
Photographed by Bruce Weber, Vogue, 1995

In 2010, she received the Fashion Icon award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America.

She continues to inspire

A tiny portion of her story:

On living as the daughter of the Somali ambassador to Saudi Arabia: I studied in Italian when I was in boarding school, so overnight when we moved to Saudi Arabia we were taught in English. I speak five languages besides mine. I went to school in Egypt because girls weren’t allowed to go to school in Saudi Arabia. It’s very restricting, especially for girls, we’re not allowed to go anywhere.

On becoming a refugee from Saudi Arabia: Imagine: we have our own chauffeur, our own car, we’re going everywhere with security, as [the family of the] ambassador. Then Somalia had a revolution and it became a military regime. All embassies were closed, and all of a sudden people my father worked with disappeared. So my mom decided, ‘Why would we wait for that to happen?’ So, in the middle of the night, she gets a van, puts us in with nothing but the clothes on our backs and we drove to the border of Kenya and crossed on foot. I literally have two pictures of myself growing up. I am the face of the refugee. The refugees are, 99% of the time, people who have left their countries for fear for their lives. It’s not people who want to come to other countries and be pariahs. That’s not what a refugee is.

On being discovered by Peter Beard: I was walking to [my job as a] waitress and Peter Beard appeared and started talking to me and asked my name and I thought he was trying to pick me up. He followed me and asked, have you ever been photographed? And I’d never seen a magazine in my life—except my brothers were teenagers and they had Playboy. And I said, “I’m not that kind of girl.” He talked about his profession and I didn’t pay attention and then he said, “I’ll pay you,” and then I stopped. He said, “How much?” I said, “$8000.” (That was two year’s tuition.) And he said, “OK.” I brought two girlfriends, he took the pictures, I thought, “That was an easy job, $8,000.” He wrote me a check, I cashed it immediately.

On her age: We all have friends and loved ones who say 60’s the new 30. No. Sixty’s the new 60.

Source for her story: taken from her interview “Fashion Icons with Fern Mallis”

Her cosmetics line:  http://www.imancosmetics.com/

photos: google images

Style ICON: woman of substance – Charlotte Rampling

I’ve always been attracted to Charlotte Rampling but not in that way…

 Photo: Philip Sinden
Photo: Philip Sinden

…because she embodies that wow factor in the same admirable fashion that Cate Blanchett does and Katherine Hepburn did. Very attractive but not in a conventional sense, in a much more interesting manner, smart, confident, a talented actor and so very chic – her own stylishness. Her stage play Neck of the Woods just wrapped at HOME, Manchester, as part of the Manchester International Festival on July 18.

Rampling on…

Words with Charlotte Rampling – on working with wolves, the power of the audience and what she means when she calls herself an artist.

Who’s afraid of the big bad wolf? We all are, it seems.

Charlotte Rampling on the WOLF
“I think humans have a very profound relationship with animals. Wild creatures are more mysterious to us – we can’t actually approach them so that makes them enigmatic, that’s why we study them and do art pieces around them. There is a lot that goes in people’s imagination about wolves, starting from the basic stories we hear all the time. There is a particular fascination – from the thought that one must be scared or wary of them, to the cultural idea of ‘the big bad wolf’. They have a strange character, they are mysterious, maybe more so than other animals.”

Charlotte Rampling on the power of the AUDIENCE
“The study of an audience is very important. We are doing it for them so we want to get the best possible angle for them, and to bring them in. You feel when an audience is getting distracted or not quite following, and then you have to really start to understand why they are not with you. Yes, I think that is what live performance is about; you are facing an audience and you are saying it to them. It is not like you are in a play and playing to the people you are playing with; here you are playing to the audience so you must have them with you at all times. If you don’t – well, they are like a pack of wolves and they will take the play away from you if you are not careful. They will turn it into something other. If you let the audience go, you have lost the moment, and essentially you have lost the play.”

Charlotte Rampling on being an ARTIST
“All my life I have followed the thought that if I have already done something, why would I then want to do it again?” So unless the film is really intriguing then to me, it is just another film. I have always gone off the track and have looked at things that I can do that will allow me to see the world in a different way. It is just a basic form of curiosity on my part, to want to discover something and find another way of doing things. What I found is that as you get older your mind actually doesn’t get any older, you just get older physically and you obviously have more experience. Now that I am working with a lot of younger artists, it is very intriguing, as I am able to bring my life with me to the stage. There is a young French artist I am working with called Loris Gréaud. We did a film together with David Lynch called The Snorks, which was an extraordinary project based around animals that live so far underneath the sea that no one has ever seen them and they let out energy through electrics. The relationships that you have with other artists after you have done all these projects brings you into another world, and to me that is what living creatively is all about. I am not an artist per se even though I would love to be, I don’t do sculptures or the like as that is not my profession but I know that I can infiltrate what I have into the works of others.”

As told to Tish Wrigley for anothermag.com