The World According to Franca Sozzani

Peter Lindbergh

Since becoming editor in chief of Italian Vogue 20 years ago, Franca Sozzani has turned the magazine into a juggernaut of cutting-edge photography and avant-garde design, a monthly dose of inspiration for fashion lovers (and magazine editors) around the globe. Her signature blonde tresses make this front-row fixture instantly recognizable, and despite a hectic schedule of meetings, shows, and shoots—“Running, I am always running,” she says—Sozzani has also worked on several books, the most recent being Assouline’s Dolce & Gabbana. We persuaded the editor to take a quick break from her workday in Milan to share the details of her fast-forward, fashion-forward life.

Choice hotel?

The best hotels are in India or Asia, but I always really love the ones you can live in, like The Ritz in Paris or Gramercy Park Hotel in New York.

To make a hotel room your own, you…

I put my things all around— my computer, my books, my papers. These objects are a part of my daily life. But I don’t put any photos around me because I don’t like to. It makes me sad. If I want to see somebody, I pre-fer to see them in person.

How do you recover from jet lag?

I never eat during the flight. Never. And I always sleep. I don’t want to talk to anyone or become friends with anyone on the plane.

Perfect meal?

Pasta. I’m very Italian, so I like pasta the real Italian way. I never eat it when I’m not in Italy.

Where could you eat every day?

Ristorante Da Giacomo in Milan: The food, and even the way they do the furniture in the restaurant, I like.

Do you drive?

I have a Mini, but I don’t like to drive. I’m not very good. Not at all!

Do you work out?

Exercise? No. I’m too tired.

On the iPod?

When I don’t work, I read. I have an iPod, but I don’t use it. I like silence.

What are you reading right now?

My son is finishing university, doing his thesis on the literary critic Walter Benjamin. I’m reading Benjamin’s books so I know what my son’s talking about.

Item of clothing you could never part with?

If I like something, I always keep it. I even have some vintage pieces from Yves Saint Laurent from the seventies. I actually prefer not to wear pieces from the current season because otherwise we all look alike. (Yes, my closets are huge!)

Ideal retreat?

The place I relax is Portofino. I have a home there, and I don’t do anything and worry about nothing.

Do you wear perfume?

Chanel. The classic No 5. For 20 years or more. It doesn’t last long, so you don’t have the feeling of a fragrance on you.

What’s the best gift you’ve ever been given?

Flowers. All year long, every week for one year, I was receiving flowers.

How do you keep organized?

I don’t do anything in writing. I have an assistant who calls me every five minutes to tell me where I have to go and who I have to meet.

What do you wear to bed?

Agent Provocateur. I bring my computer and book with me and watch television. It all becomes like my small island. A refuge with no alarm.