Franca Sozzani, the longtime editor in chief of Italian Vogue, died in Milan on Thursday of an undisclosed illness. She was 66.
Sozzani was appointed to the position in 1988, the same month that her counterpart Anna Wintour was named editor in chief of American Vogue.
“Franca was warm, clever, funny, and someone who could give the Sphinx a run for its money when it comes to keeping a confidence,” Wintour wrote in a tribute. “She was also the hardest-working person I have known, and with an envy-inducing ease with multitasking.”
“She was by far the most talented, influential, and important person within the Condé Nast International organization,” Conde Nast International chairman and chief executive Jonathan Newhouse added. “She made Italian Vogue a powerful and influential voice in the worlds of fashion and photography by publishing groundbreaking photography and journalism. In doing so she expanded Vogue beyond what had been the traditional model of a fashion magazine and often courted controversy by doing so.”
Rapper and designer Kanye West also expressed condolences.
“Franca Sozzani was always so nice and sincere. You will be deeply missed,” he tweeted.
During her career, Sozzani nurtured the careers of photographers like Mario Testino, Herb Ritts, and Steven Meisel.
She was also know for pushing the envelop editorially, including the 2008 Black Issue, which only featured models of color. The magazine — shot entirely by Meisel — was praised for embracing the beauty of diversity.
Sozzani appeared as a mentor on Seasons 15 and 16 of “America’s Next Top Model,” where the prize was a spread in Vogue Italia.
She was the subject of the documentary “Franca: Chaos and Creation,” which premiered at this year’s Venice Film Festival. It was directed by her son Francesco Carrozzini.
Carrozzini was reportedly at his mother’s side when she died.