YOOX Sells Franca Sozzani's Wardrobe
by Alice Newbold, February 5th, 2019
Photography by David Needleman
Once upon a frosty New York Fashion Week, Federico Marchetti, founder of Yoox and chairman and CEO of Yoox Net-a-Porter Group, got stranded in JFK with Franca Sozzani, former editor of Vogue Italia, Anna Dello Russo and Giovanna Battaglia, two larger-than-life Italian fashion editors. After 36 hours of failed attempts to fly home to Milan, the foursome did what any self-respecting fash pack would do and headed back to the city to have one last fabulous supper. “All those legends together for that long in an airport!” Marchetti chuckles down the phone as he recalls the trip – just one of many adventures he found himself on with Sozzani over the years.
The duo hit it off immediately, owing to a mutual appreciation for pragmatism in the workplace. “She was very straight to the point, as I am,” says Marchetti. An initial meeting to discuss how the two Italian power players might benefit from one another over a decade ago turned into "Vogue Talents" – a platform to champion young design stars – and a friendship that saw them travel from Dubai malls to Damien Hirst exhibitions for business and pleasure. “There was a kindness as well as a frankness,” he shares. So, when Sozzani’s son, Francesco Carrozzini, called Marchetti in the summer of 2018, 18 months after the death of his mother, and proposed a new kind of collaboration in celebration of Sozzani, Marchetti’s answer was an unfaltering “yes”.
On February 11, Yoox will unveil the Franca Sozzani Private Collection – 397 ready-to-wear and haute couture pieces and 190 accessories from the late editor’s wardrobe. All proceeds will benefit the new Franca Sozzani Fund for Preventive Genomics at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital at Harvard, and, Marchetti says, bring the memory of Franca to the fore for the millions of shoppers who use Yoox as a shopping portal to mix and match all styles and seasons, much like Sozzani herself.
“She was the chicest of the Vogue editors and completely unique,” muses Marchetti, who collaborated with the Sozzani family to settle on five categories that compartmentalise the editor’s garments online. “The Eclectic”, “The Black Tale”, “The Londoner”, “The Unconventional” and “The Dream Dimension” celebrate her sensibilities, as well as her style, as Marchetti recalls a recent conversation that he had with British Vogue editor-in-chief Edward Enninful which, he says, seemed apt at summing up their former friend. “She was the daring editor, the one with the courage to take decisions others would have thought too risky. That same character came out in the way she dressed,” the two had conceded.
The heavily-embellished Valentino gowns, Miu Miu minidresses and Manolo Blahnik heels, of which there are plenty, will be snapped up by fashion magpies and collectors alike, within mere moments come February 11. But Marchetti hopes the lasting impression of the Yoox sale will be one that honours la familia. “It’s a project that is driven by heart,” he notes, referring to the collaborative effort of the extended Sozzani family to realise the archive sale. The editor’s legacy will also live on through the Franca Sozzani Chair at Harvard Medical School, which will be set up within the next three years using a portion of the funds raised. Plus, Carrozzini’s Assouline-published biography of his mother, Franca: Chaos and Creation will debut globally on Yoox on the same date. “She was not only fashion, she was interested in art, design and culture,” he surmises. “This is all in her honour.”
Originally published in British Vogue