'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.