Franca Sozzani, Editor in Chief, Vogue Italia


"I’ve been the Editor in Chief for Vogue Italia for 25 years. I never thought I would do this job for so long, but sometimes that’s life. When I first took the position, I thought I would only try it for a few years and then do something else. Keeping my eye on other things is the reason I’ve been able to do Vogue Italia in such a different way than other magazines: I’m always thinking about concepts. I’m fed up with fashion stories looking alike. Of course you can have one picture that’s better than another, or a model that’s more beautiful than another, but more or less, it’s the same girls, the same clothes, and the same photographers. You have to find something new. And I like to do that through images, especially, because images are an international language that speak to everyone. The images are what talk.

When I think about a photograph, I like the model to be strange or ugly in some silly way. It makes her stronger and makes the image more interesting. Of course there are different types of beauty, but when someone is beautiful, they are beautiful. I happen to think people are more interesting when they look ugly. I’m trying to take images to a new place, which means even trying to make mistakes—sometimes I push too far. But I’m looking to find another definition of beauty. I don’t want to only be experimental; I want to arrive at a point. I’m a person who takes risks, not a follower.

My personal approach to beauty is basically to take care of myself. I’m not a very wild person—I quit smoking, I care a lot about my skin and hair. I go to my dermatologist, Daniela Di Rella, in Turin almost once a week—she’s very good. She makes me creams for my entire body. I’m really against Botox or any facial injections—it changes the face. I think if you really take care of your skin, you will age in a better way. Aging is normal. My face shows my life. It’s better to age with dignity than to age with these fake cheeks and lips, or eyebrows up to here. They can look like burn victims. I understand surgery more, because I’ve seen things done in a very nice, imperceptible way. I’ve considered it, but I’m happy as I am. I just take care of my skin, try not to get too much sun, and swear by my dermatologist’s creams.

I prefer my face to look natural. Makeup like foundation feels like it’s suffocating my skin. Everyone’s skin is different, but I just don’t like wearing it. If I get dressed up, I pay more attention to my eyes than to my skin. Peter Lindbergh taught me that you shouldn’t put dark colors on the inner corners of your eyes, but only on the outer corners; it makes the eyes so much more beautiful. For that, I use Make Up For Ever Crayon Kohl Eye Pencil in Deep Black, almost like a shadow. I have learned a lot of tricks, but it’s about finding your own way of doing things—everyone is different.

I wear Benetint on my cheeks every day for a little bit of color. I found it at Sephora. On my lips, occasionally I’ll wear this Magic Moroccan Color-Changing Lipstick, which is green in the tube, but turns pink on your lips. In Morocco, they sell it at the market for $1.

My hair has been shorter and longer than it is now, but I always wear it the same way. I wash my hair twice a week, and never blow dry it. A friend made my shampoo and conditioner for me—they’re not a brand—and they have a lot of vitamins and minerals in them. In the summer, I put Santal oil in my hair to protect it from sun damage, but I don’t fight my natural color. I have a lot of white hair, but because I’m blonde it doesn’t show very much. I might consider doing something if my hair gets a lot whiter.

I just bought Aesop Body Wash when I got here [to Paris], and it’s very good. Before I shower, I moisturize my skin with argan oil. If you put it on before you wash, your skin won’t get completely dried out—it will still be soft after the shower. For fragrance, I wear Chanel No. 5, Yves Saint Laurent’s Opium, or Armani Privé Oranger Alhambra. Sometimes I mix two together.

I feel the same way about style that I do about beauty: I want to be myself. I don’t care what’s in style or not, I’m not a fashionista—I’m a person with style, who wants to keep her style. I like color, I like classics with a twist, I love jewelry, but my style is difficult to put into words. It’s important to feel like yourself."

—as told to ITG

Franca Sozzani photographed by Emily Weiss in Paris, France on October 1, 2013.

Let’s Talk About It! JOIN IN
  • Ivy

    A Franca Sozzani top shelf?! ITG, you spoil us!

    • Marie


  • olgatheteacher

    This is actually a hell of a surprise. When I sad the headline I thought "Oh no... yet another shelf fraught with tons of make-up", but her approach is totally endearing and so rational! Thanks for this Top Shelf! Good to know there are people who resist overindulgence.

  • Lilly

    Franca displays such a timeless elegance. She has aged beautifully, and her hair looks so healthy!

  • Angela_E

    What a remarkable woman! Her desire to redefine beauty has the potential to be liberating.

  • mlle p

    I love Franca and her sister Carla! She has a great approach to beauty and life.

  • goldwaffle

    so classy. love it.

  • Sara

    What a remarkable woman! Now I must find her blog!

  • Poulette

    I completely agree with you - I feel like she is the great editors with a substantial vision who embraces risk taking. The fact that she uses models, not actress du jour, on her covers & in the pages, just makes me admire her more.

    I saw her & Carla at 10 Corso Como earlier in the year, quietly have a prosecco, no one bothering them. They both had such an interesting aura - even though they were probably talking about where to buy the best cheese for Sunday lunch, it felt like they were solving the worlds troubles one picture at a time. Honestly, I felt like the dorkiest fan girl - it was all I could do not to run up to her & gush my admiration!

  • Katherine Clow

    Franca Sozzani. Amazing. She is truly an icon.

  • Elena

    i love how she focused of a small selection of key products. Amazing woman. thanks ITG!

  • Robin

    Cara Delevingne Top Shelf. That is all.

  • Jacqueline Fonte

    The only woman I've ever seen who makes kitten heels pur.

  • Isabella

    I met Franca Sozzani and she is not only a very intelligent and smart woman, she is also beautiful. She is confident in her own skin, which is the greatst form of beauty.

  • Marie

    great woman, great top shelf

  • Sharon Macklin

    How refreshing! I really appreciate her comments about botox and fillers...

  • Saima Shaikh

    What a wonderful woman, so natural and believing the skin should age naturally. Quite rightly talking about botox, it does mess the face and it's plastic. I too put more attention to the skin and hair and don't follow trends and put less attention on fashion. If my skin and hair are not at it's best then I am not happy, not having any Jimmy Choo shoes will not depress me. I feel strong when my skin and hair are glowing. Franca is quite right in saying its important to feel your best and not be a fashionista!

  • drPenelopeTympanidis

    i think she is great and looks great and i love her message: a good dermatologist is all you need beauty wise

  • Levanah

    What an inspirational woman. I hope I look that good when I'm older!

  • Kim

    please do liu wen's top shelf!!

  • Tunie

    I can't believe how heartened I feel after reading this. I feel really supported to just claim aging gracefully and with style. Thanks!


Make Up For Ever Kohl Eye Pencil
Benefit Benetint
Magic Moroccan Color-Changing Lipstick
Clarins Santal Oil
Yves Saint Laurent
Yves Saint Laurent New Opium Eau de Parfum Spray
Josie Maran
Josie Maran 100 percent Pure Argan Oil Light
Giorgio Armani
Giorgio Armani Prive Oranger Alhambra