Italian Vogue editor Franca Sozzani died on Dec. 22 after battling a year-long illness. The magazine boss was 66. Sozzani was just as vital to the Vogue brand as the more high-profile U.S. Vogue chief, Anna Wintour.

Wintour paid tribute to her Italian counterpart, saying, “Franca and I found ourselves falling into a friendship that I am so happy and honored to say sustained itself for 30 years.”

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Sozzani was an influential force in the fashion industry, steering the Vogue Italia ship for 28 years. Aside from conjuring beautiful images and celebrating photographers and designers alike, Sozzani championed women and diversity. Her imprint was behind a 2008 Black Issue of Vogue, which featured black models exclusively. Sozzani wanted to see more diversity in the fashion industry, an issue that is still a source of conversation today.

The weight controversy concerning the waif-thin models walking down runways in Paris and Milan and gracing fashion magazines also caused Sozzani to act. She put out a plus-sized issue in 2011, making a bold and powerful statement.

Such was Sozzani, letting her work speak for her, earning her the respect of the fashion industry the world over. She is survived by son, Francesco Carrozzini, who recently completed work on a documentary about his famous mother, Franca: Chaos and Creation, which comes out in 2017.


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