Italian Vogue EIC Franca Sozanni sat down for a conversation with WWD yesterday and topics covered included body image, Photoshop, the Sartorialist, and her relationship with Anna Wintour. Franca Sozzani is, of course, awesome and also mentioned how people that criticize her (and her occasionally provocative blog) can “go to hell.” For our readers without a WWD ‘script, here’s a few of the interview’s golden moments:
WWD: You were initially criticized for your “Black” and “Curvy” pages.
F.S.: Oh, very much so, because some said it was becoming the ghetto of plus-sized, the ghetto of black, but it’s not true. These are very happy readers, happy that we are looking at them in different ways. In “Curvy,” they are superhappy with their sizes. We help them dress fashionably. We say: It’s pointless for you to buy leggings, take this because this will look good on you. We help them choose. We don’t talk about diets because they don’t want to be on a diet, but it’s not a ghetto. Why should these women slim down? Many of the women who have a few extra kilos are especially beautiful and also more feminine.
WWD: Do you believe that in your role you must be engaged in social issues?
F.S.: Yes. For example we have a petition against pro-anorexia Web sites and blogs. I believe it’s fundamental. There are 300,000 of these sites globally and if you read them, you feel sick. If someone says it’s absurd and hypocritical that Vogue is against anorexia, I say, “Why?” They say models are thin, but I can’t change all the shows, the world, walk the streets saying you have to do this or that. I’m not the Eternal Judge. I do what I can do; others then do what they have to do. We have this damn Photoshop, where 14-year-old girls are polished, they take away the stomach, the sides and they all seem thinner. And why shouldn’t one have wrinkles? I don’t understand — there must be a moment when one has to have something.
WWD: Do you use Photoshop, too?
F.S.: We use it less and less, increasingly so — actually recently I am very much against it. But now it’s part of daily use and you can’t blame it. There are few photographers who don’t use Photoshop, very few. But you can’t say fashion is the cause of anorexia — what about Twiggy in the Sixties? There were anorexics already, were they so because of Twiggy? Or Jean Shrimpton? There are psychological problems. I don’t feel a hypocrite at all and I couldn’t care less if they say I am because I am convinced that if I can do something to help.…Maybe these kids go on these pro-anorexia sites also because they feel lonely, we should help them not feel lonely. But this is an illness, I am not a professor, I can do things I find socially right, as when I organize Convivio to help fight AIDS. I can’t move the world and be Hercules with everything on my shoulders, I can only do some things. So 90 percent of people agree with me, then there is the 10 percent that say it’s absurd because they see Vogue as a fashion magazine and it shows thin models. But they forget the supermodel era — Christy Turlington, Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell, they were not thin. When Kate Moss arrived , they all said, “Here is the anorexic model,” but she was 15. Now they are all against her because she has cellulite. But who cares? We would all like to have cellulite like she does. The problem is that many of these models are too young. This is the real problem; they are immature.
WWD: A question you are asked at breakfast, lunch and dinner every day, at least here: What kind of a relationship do you have with Anna Wintour?
F.S.: We are absolutely independent from one another but we are very much on the same page. It’s never happened that she proposes an idea that I don’t like, and vice versa. And we are both very quick, so it’s boom-boom-boom, in five minutes we do everything.
WWD: Your blog about bloggers didn’t go down well with some.
F.S: Yes, because I said enough with all these blogs, because it’s the quantity, anyone can take a photo, put it on a blog, say I like it, I don’t like it. Anyone can do a blog. I would rather people found their own style. I find Scott Schuman is a genius, because he created The Sartorialist, and he created a concept. After him, how many were born? Millions, but he remains. My blog about that really got lots of negative reviews.