Showing posts with label Franca Sozzani. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Franca Sozzani. Show all posts

9 September 2019

Francesco Carrozzini - director and photographer

Famous for portraits of wealthy and famous


Francesco Carrozzini has photographed many celebrities from the world of movies, music and the arts
Francesco Carrozzini has photographed many celebrities
from the world of movies, music and the arts
The American-based director and photographer Francesco Carrozzini was born on this day in 1982 in Monza, Italy.

The son of the late former editor-in-chief of the Italian edition of Vogue magazine, Franca Sozzani, Carrozzini has directed many music videos and documentary films and a small number of feature-length movies, including one about the life of his mother.

In photography, he has become best known for his portraits of the rich and famous, including actors such as Robert De Niro and Cate Blanchett, models including Naomi Campbell and Linda Evangelista, musicians such as Lana Del Ray and Kanye West, and artists including Jeff Koons and Andres Serrano.

Carrozzini has also photographed a number of political leaders, including the former British prime minister Tony Blair, ex-Mayor of New York Michael Bloomberg and former United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

He is a founder of the Franca Sozzani Fund for Preventive Genomics, which he helped create following the death of his mother at the age of 66 from a rare form of cancer.

Carrozzini's mother was the fashion magazine editor Franca Sozzani
Carrozzini's mother was the fashion
magazine editor Franca Sozzani
Franca Sozzani’s prominence in the fashion and magazine industry meant that Carrozzini grew up in a house he described as being filled with creative energy. Sozzani gave her photographers a level of creative freedom that at the time was almost unique to Vogue Italia and, influenced by their work, Carrozzini began taking pictures and making short films in his early teens.

In 1999, he moved to the United States to study film at the University of California in Los Angeles before returning to Italy to study philosophy at the University of Milan. 

He embarked on his first commercial assignment, directing a 30-second video promoting Italian MTV, at the age of 19.

Indeed, film became his preoccupation from his early 20s, when his work ranged from a promotional film for the Venice Biennale and a documentary about a Polish theatre group to a short thriller set in New York’s reputedly haunted Chelsea Hotel on West 23rd Street.

Soon, he became sought after by commercial clients such as Apple Music, Fiat, Tommy Hilfiger and Ray Ban, and musicians such as Beyoncé, Jay-Z, and Lenny Kravitz, for whom he directed music videos.  He has been based in New York since 2004.

Carrozzini began working on his film about his mother in 2010. The project was a documentary focusing on her life and legacy, highlighting the accomplishments of Sozzani's career while also exploring his relationship with her.

Carrozzini's portrait of the actor Robert De Niro
Carrozzini's portrait of the actor Robert De Niro
The film, entitled Franca: Chaos and Creation, took him around six years to finish. It premiered at the Venice International Film Festival in September 2016, just three months before she died, following a long period undergoing treatment for her cancer.

In March 2017, the film was honored with a Nastro d'Argento presented by the Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists.

After his mother’s death, from a form of cancer that might have been prevented with earlier medical surveillance, Corrazzini joined Harvard geneticist Robert C Green and private investors in launching the Franca Sozzani Fund for Preventive Genomics in the hope of improving the reach of preventive genomics, which uses genetic sequencing to predict disease.

Carrozzini is married to Bee Shaffer, the daughter of Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour and child psychiatrist David Shaffer.

The grand Villa Reale in Monza, built in the late 18th  century for Archduke Ferdinand of Austria
The grand Villa Reale in Monza, built in the late 18th
century for Archduke Ferdinand of Austria
Travel tip:

Monza, a city of just under 125,000 inhabitants about 20km (12 miles) northeast of Milan, is best known for its international motor racing circuit, the home of the Formula One Italian Grand Prix. Yet the city itself is well worth visiting in its own right, one of the highlights being the 13th century Basilica of San Giovanni Battista, often known as Monza Cathedral, which contains the famous Corona Ferrea or Iron Crown, bearing precious stones.  According to tradition, the crown was found on Jesus's Cross.  Note also the Villa Reale, built in the neoclassical style by Giuseppe Piermarini at the end of the 18th Century, which has a sumptuous interior and a court theatre.

Part of the ceiling of the Camera degli Sposa in Mantua's Palazzo Ducale, decorated by Andrea Mantegna
Part of the ceiling of the Camera degli Sposa in Mantua's
Palazzo Ducale, decorated by Andrea Mantegna
Travel tip:

Carrozzini’s mother, Franca Sozzani, came from Mantua, an atmospheric old city in Lombardy, about 180km (112 miles) to the southeast of Milan, surrounded on three sides by a broad stretch of the Mincio river, which has always limited its growth, making it an easy place for tourists to look round. At the Renaissance heart of the city is Piazza Mantegna, where the 15th century Basilica of Sant’Andrea houses the tomb of the artist, Andrea Mantegna.  Mantua’s Palazzo Ducale, the seat of the Gonzaga family between 1328 and 1707, contains some of the finest examples of Mantegna’s frescoes in the Camera degli Sposi.

More reading:

How Franca Sozzani changed the world of fashion publishing

Mimmo Jodice: Photography meets metaphysical art

The girl who inherited the Versace fashion empire

Also on this day:

1908: The birth of writer and translator Cesare Pavese

1918: The birth of Italy's ninth president, Oscar Luigi Scalfaro

1943: Allied troops land at Salerno on the Italian mainland


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20 January 2018

Franca Sozzani – magazine editor

Risk taker who turned Vogue Italia into a major voice


Franca Sozzani was editor-in-chief of Vogue Italia for 28 years
Franca Sozzani was editor-in-chief of
Vogue Italia for 28 years
Franca Sozzani, the journalist who was editor-in-chief of the Italian edition of Vogue magazine for 28 years, was born on this day in 1950 in Mantua.

Under her stewardship, Vogue Italia was transformed from what she saw as little more than a characterless clothing catalogue for the Milan fashion giants to one of the edgiest publications the style shelves of the newsstands had ever seen.

Sozzani used high-end fashion and the catwalk stars to make bold and sometimes outrageous statements on the world issues she cared about, creating shockwaves through the industry but often selling so many copies that editions sometimes sold out even on second or third reprints.

It meant that advertisers who backed off in horror in the early days of her tenure clamoured to buy space again, particularly when the magazine began to attract a following even outside Italy.

She gave photographers and stylists a level of creative freedom they enjoyed nowhere else, encouraging them to express themselves through their photoshoots, particularly if they could deliver a message at the same time.  She encouraged her writers, too, not to shy away from issues she thought were important, and not to regard fashion as an insular world.

Among the most famous editions of the magazine were those that drew attention to broad topics such as drug abuse and rehab, domestic abuse and plastic surgery, and specific issues such as the Gulf of Mexico oil spill of 2010 and America’s election of a first black president, which she marked with an edition in which all of the models used were non-white.

Sozzani had a vision to set Vogue Italia apart from its sister publications in other countries
Sozzani had a vision to set Vogue Italia apart from
its sister publications in other countries
The work they did for her advanced the careers of many photographers, including Peter Lindbergh, Paolo Roversi, Bruce Weber and Steven Meisel, whose elevation to star status in magazine photography owed almost everything to her guidance and nurture.

Sozzani wanted her readers to think about issues, even to disturb them, and she sometimes attracted criticism. For instance, when she had the model Kristin McMenamy photographed covered in oil, as a stricken bird of paradise, in response to the Gulf oil spill, it was seen as insensitive.  Her response was to say that if you wanted to take risks, as she did, then you should expect people to make judgments, good or bad.

Brought up in a comfortable environment in Mantua, the historic and prosperous city in Lombardy where her father, Gilberto, was an engineer, Sozzani might never have followed the career path that was to unfold in front of her had her father not talked to her about the virtues of getting a steady job.

She attended convent schools and then the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Milan, where she graduated in literature and philosophy, following her free spirited nature by getting married at the age of 20 and then going travelling in London and India.

The marriage collapsed after just three months, after which she sought to convince her father that she could take a long-term view of her future and took a job as a secretary at Condé-Nast, the magazine publishing company.  From there in 1976 she became an editorial assistant on the company’s Vogue Bambini title and gradually worked her way up the production ladder.

The 2008 'black edition' of Vogue Italia was one of Sozzani's notable triumphs
The 2008 'black edition' of Vogue Italia
was one of Sozzani's notable triumphs
This in time led to the editorship in 1980 of a new Italian magazine, Lei, which was the Italian equivalent of Glamour, and two years later its sister title aimed at the male market, Per Lui.  It was while working for those magazines that she began to use photographers such as Weber and Meisel and Olivieri Toscani, who had much to do with the multicultural and socially aware advertising campaigns followed by Italy’s trendsetting Benetton company.

The two titles remained her focus until the late 80s, at which point she felt she had taken both as far as she could and was prepared to move on, only for Condé-Nast to realise the talent they were about to lose and gave her Vogue Italia, which lagged the British, American and French versions of the magazines in sales and prestige and needed freshening up.

No one was better suited to create an identity for Vogue Italia than Sozzani, whose vision from the outset was that where Vogue in the UK was about elegance and romance, in the US about glossy celebrity and the French version intellectual chic, her readers would understand that each edition of Vogue Italia would say something about the world, in words but sometimes only in images.

Her own attitude to fashion helped shape her editorial policy. She thought many aspects of the fashion world were ridiculous and in her own day-to-day life favoured clothes that were easy to wear, elegant but understated. 

After her first misadventure, Sozzani never married again, and managed to keep subsequent relationships largely out of the spotlight. One of them produced a son, Francesco Carrozzini, who was born in 1982. She died in 2016 after a long illness, at the age of 66.

The Basilica of Sant'Andrea in Mantua
The Basilica of Sant'Andrea in Mantua
Travel tip:

Mantua, where Franca Sozzani was born, is an atmospheric old city in Lombardy, about 180km (112 miles) to the south east of Milan, surrounded on three sides by a broad stretch of the Mincio river, which has always limited its growth, making it an easy place for tourists to look round. At the Renaissance heart of the city is Piazza Mantegna, where the 15th century Basilica of Sant’Andrea houses the tomb of the artist, Andrea Mantegna.

Each wall of the Sforza Castle is 180m long,  while the Torre di Filarete is 70m high
Each wall of the Sforza Castle is 180m long,
 while the Torre di Filarete is 70m high
Travel tip:

Vogue Italia’s headquarters are in Milan in Piazza Castello, the horseshoe-shaped piazza that wraps around the city’s impressive Castello Sforzesco – the Sforza Castle – which was built in the 15th century by Francesco Sforza, Duke of Milan on the site of a fortification erected in the previous century by another Milanese warlord, Galeazzo II Visconti. One of the largest citadels in Europe, it has a central tower, the Torre del Filarate, that climbs to 70m (230ft) in height, while each of the four walls is more than 180m (590ft) long. At the end of the 15th century, Ludovico Sforza commissioned artists including Bramante and Leonardo da Vinci to improve the interior decoration and they painted several notable frescoes.