Our own Arianna Huffington sat down with Franca Sozzani at AOL Studios in New York last week to discuss the style world's latest headlines, the ubiquitous issues of eating disorders and body image in the fashion scene, and even Franca's personal life.
Sozzani, 61, has been the editor-in-chief of Vogue Italia since 1988.
Read some of Franca's most memorable quotes from our exclusive chat below:
On plastic surgery:
"I think that if [you're] 18 and you have a nose or ears that make you unhappy, you have to do [plastic surgery]. I think that the surgery is good when it's [to help fix] a psychological problem. It helps you to feel more confident. But if, at my age, I have to put Botox in my face and not move, it doesn't change anything, and I will not look younger. I will still look my age...I like my wrinkles! It's my life. You get used everyday...and your children, they won't forgive you. They don't want you to be someone else. They want you to be their mother."
"I sleep a lot...between 10 and 14 hours [a night]."
On eating disorders:
"One Sunday I was looking around on the internet and by chance I found one of these pro-anorexic websites. And what I was reading was unbelievable. I couldn't believe that some people could try something like that, to really push people to die. And I was so shocked, so I went on all the day long and I read and I read and I started to write down what I read....I said, I want to make a petition to close the website. I called the Minister of the Arts in Italy and said I want to close these sites...And she said, '...We have 3,000 anorexia websites in the world. Even when we obscure the 185 we have in Italy they will go to some other country.' So you cannot do anything elses besides to [let] people open websites that say how you feel good when you are not anorexic. To fight in the same way; instead of close, because you can't, to open more sites that say, you can be slim and healthy [without being dangerous]. So I started the petition and today we're at 10,000 [signatures]."
On the Karlie Kloss photo scandal:
In the last issue we had a girl...she's not anorexic. She has muscles. But there's one picture in which she's really so skinny.
And people started to write me again, saying 'You did, you said, and you pretended to be the one who wanted to change the world [in fighting anorexia], and what about this girl? She's not anorexic, she's very toned, she has long, long legs and she does a lot of gymnastics and if you see her from the back, she's not skinny at all, she has good shape, she has hips.
"...I took down the one picture because I understood what [the critics] mean, and even if I tried to explain that it's the position, if you take a picture of anyone from that [angle] you look flat, like a cartoon, no one would understand. But I can't explain this, so I prefer to take it down. But people said, 'oh, if you take down, it means you are ashamed,' but no, I respect the problem and the parents' complaints. But if you've seen any other pictures [of Kloss], you see that she has a beautiful body, she's slim. But slim doesn't mean skinny. Anorexia is a sickness. This is not sick."
Note: Franca also responded to the Karlie Kloss issue on her blog today.
On first ladies:
"I really like Michelle [Obama]. I like not only her beauty ...but what makes a first lady a first lady is character and atittude. Everybody in Italy likes her because she's spontaneous, so she looks real. In a way, she found her style. It's not probably the style that you could say is the greatest style in the world, but it's hers. Carla Bruni has a style of a first lady, and she's really concerned to have the style of a first lady...she's very natural, but she was a model, so she knows how to behave."
On her proudest career moment:
"I'm a big fighter. I'm a fighter and I take risks. The thing that I'm most proud of is when I did the "black" issue [Vogue Italia's February 2011 issue]. Nobody wanted to do it. Everyone was scared. Everyone thought that this could be confused to be racist, but I said, you go on the runway, you see so many beautiful girls from Africa. I thought maybe something was wrong in the fashion world [that no one was honoring this]....
But this issue made me very proud. The fact that everyone tried to convince me to stop and tell me you would never be successful and people will dislike it and never buy another Italian Vogue...for me this was a big step."
See all of the video from Franca and Arianna's interview below: