In 2016, when the late Vogue Italia editor-in-chief Franca Sozzani passed away just a few days before Christmas, the fashion industry’s lights dimmed. Sozzani, a guiding force for so many in the field, was known by Italians as the “Lady of Fashion,” but for those of us admiring her legacy from afar, she was more than that: she was the future of fashion. The Italian editor pushed boundaries, forced conversations, and added dreamlike qualities to some of the more sobering ideas that have to do with style and what clothes mean to the zeitgeist at large.

But Sozzani was also a dedicated philanthropist. She was awarded the Legion of Honor, the highest order of civil merit, by former French president Nicolas Sarkozy. She was a United Nations Goodwilll ambassador. She was a global ambassador against hunger for the UN’s World Food Programme and was awarded the Swarovski Fashion Award for Positive Change. Sozzani was a founding member of Condé Nasts International’s Child Priority, a nonprofit for underprivileged children with extraordinary talents, a frequent collaborator with AIDS organization Convivo, and the president of the European Institute of Oncology Foundation.

Though bittersweet, it makes sense, then, that her son Francesco Carrozzini teamed up with luxury Italian e-tailer YOOX to sell a curated selection of pieces from her private collection of clothes and accessories. All of the proceeds will be donated to the Franca Sozzani Fund for Preventive Genomics at Bringham Women’s Hospital. The goal, of which this YOOX partnership contributes to, is to endow the the Franca Sozzani Chair at Harvard Medical School within three years.

The collection features more than 390 pieces of Sozanni’s clothing, from ready-to-wear to haute-couture, and 190 accessories. And it’s organized by themes that are reflective of Sozzani’s imagination: The Eclectic, The Londoner, The Black Tale, The Unconventional, The Dream Dimensions, and more. The array of designers include, but are certainly not limited to, Sozzani’s go-to labels: Prada, Miu Miu, Valentino, Yohji Yamamoto, Lanvin, Marni, and more. A biography written by Sozzani’s son also launched alongside the collection, Franca: Chaos & Creation, and is available for purchase on YOOX.

In the slideshow ahead, we selected some of our favorite items from the sale, including an interview with Federico Marchetti, founder of YOOX and CEO of YOOX NET-A-PORTER Group, and Francesco Carrozzini, Sozzani’s son. Their sentiments and memories of Sozzani are not only touching, but recall the impact Sozzani had on those around her.

How did you come up with this idea? Why decide to sell your mother’s clothes — and why now?
Francesco Carrozzini:
“It all started with the book [ Franca: Chaos & Creation] that Assouline released on the same day of the sale on YOOX. It’s part biography, part scrap book, of unseen letters and images. I wanted to continue my mother’s legacy and thought that the same day we’d launch the book [that] we could also announce the foundation I’ve been working at for over two years, about genomics and precision medicine as ways to prevent disease.

“In order to raise money, I thought giving access to something personal like my mom’s wardrobe was the best way to go. I called Federico, who’s a friend, and the ideas was born.”

Photo: Franca Sozzani Private Collection/YOOX.

Federico Marchetti: “Franca and I were friends for a very long time. Like all great friends, we understood each other at a glance, we never needed too many words. Our motto was “detto-fatto” (no sooner said than done), from thought to action. Repeating it made us smile so much.

“When Francesco asked me to join him in this wonderful project, our motto was the only answer I could give him. From the idea to the execution, this initiative comes from the heart of the people who loved Franca. We can call it an “extended” family business: apart from Francesco and myself, there was Sara Maino (Franca’s niece who had the original idea of the sale), and there was Ariela Goggi ,her long-term friend (deputy editor and fashion director of Vogue Italia who worked with Franca for almost 3 decades) who helped us curate the presentation of the collection online.”

Photo: Franca Sozzani Private Collection/YOOX.

Why was YOOX is the perfect platform for this amazing initiative?
FM:
“Franca had an aesthetic of her own, very personal, without schemes, without preconceptions. She used to say ‘I mix old and new.’ Style is personality, and YOOX’s philosophy is all about this, too. Hers was unpredictable, never obvious — but always chic. I’m sure Franca would have loved to have seen her most beautiful pieces live on in timeless elegance.”

Photo: Franca Sozzani Private Collection/YOOX.

Describe to us your mother’s relationship with charity. Why were causes, like oncology, child hunger, andHIV/AIDs research and treatment, so important to her?
FC:
“She had a fundamental faith in others and she thought that only by caring about people we can build a better society.”

Are there any particular memories of the clothes that you can share? For example, any stories about a specific piece that are etched in your memory.FC: “All the best memories I have of my mom are when she was wearing a simple black dress or a white shirt and black pants, so I guess the black theme is what I feel closest to.”

Photo: Franca Sozzani Private Collection/YOOX.

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