When fashion insiders want to visit the territory where fashion, art and provocation meet, they pick up Vogue Italia, considered the world’s most important fashion magazine. With Franca: Chaos and Creation, director Francesco Carrozzini has made an intimate portrait of his mother, Franca Sozzani, the legendary editor-in-chief of the magazine since 1988. Encompassing both the ridiculous and the sublime, her astonishing but often controversial magazine covers have not only broken the rules but also set the high bar for fashion, art and commerce over the past 25 years. From 2005’s infamous Plastic Surgery Issue in which photographer Steven Meisel documented supermodel Linda Evangelista’s “makeover” to the legendary Black Issue in 2008, which featured only black models and—despite industry prognostications to the contrary—sold out in America and the UK in 72 hours, Sozzani was unafraid to take the industry by the scruff of the neck and give it a good shake. As the film shows, she remains deeply committed to exploring subject matter off limits to most and occasionally redefining the concept of beauty in the process.
Along with personal discussions between mother and son, which, amusingly, always seem to take place in cars (no surprise given the intense work schedule that Sozzani follows), the film features interviews with Karl Lagerfeld, Bruce Weber, Baz Luhrmann, Courtney Love and many others. Carrozzini gives us a behind-the-scenes glimpse into his mother’s creative process as well as a peek into her vulnerabilities both past and present. Deeply insightful and often emotional, this film is both a love letter from a son to a mother and a study of a powerful woman who remains true to her vision.