Documentarian Francesco Carrozzini, and son of the legendary Vogue Italia editor Franca Sozzani, talks with WSJ. Magazine about Chaos & Creation (Assouline), a 408-page book – that features his mother’s correspondence with famous artists, as well as reprints of Franca’s most famous Vogue shoots, and fond recollections from the likes of Carla Bruni Sarkozy and Anna Wintour among others. The book will be out this month.
“It’s such a transformation, when someone dies. You really start rebuilding your life. And my mom was very adamant no one even know she was sick. So years ago, when Martine Assouline threw out that we should do a book about Franca, I couldn’t even say anything about her being unwell. I kept quiet until after she had passed. And then I went back and said I think your idea is a good one—but it’s going to take a couple of years.” – Francesco Carrozzini on deciding to do the book.
On the emotional process:
You know what you do when someone you love dies: You have to go through all of their things. I’d gone back to Milan, to her apartment, and started opening every single closet and drawer. Which is horrible—but also wonderful in other ways, because fascinating things started surfacing: notes from Diana Vreeland or Si Newhouse or Helmut Newton. Poetic asides to Bruce Weber, where her truly funny sense of humor would come out. And, of course, hundreds and hundreds of pictures. She kept only the really good pictures. The really good notes.
On what these notes and saved pictures meant to him:
They’re all tied up in my memories, too, from growing up— I would go with Peter Lindbergh down to the South of France to do a special shoot with Naomi [Campbell], or I’d be holding up the boombox for Bruce on an Abercrombie & Fitch campaign shoot. And putting together this puzzle, of my memories and her notes, was a way for me to have a physical piece of her.
On his mother’s legacy:
We have this word in Italian, the mecenati—the 16th-century patrons of the arts who paid painters to come to their court and work. This book is the story of my mother, the mecenate—of the opportunities she gave to these artists, to the Lindberghs or the Meisels or the Walkers or the Sorrentis.
WSJ. Magazine’s March issue on newsstands Saturday, February 16th, 2019 – www.wsj.com