For many, the financial crisis has provoked a reaction more commonly found in turtles: pull your head inside your shell and hide. But not Franca Sozzani. Last July, she ignored all naysayers to produce the so-called "Black Issue" of Vogue Italia, the fashion tome Sozzani has steered for the past 20 years. She followed that up by creating an Africa theme for the November issue of L'Uomo Vogue, including donating 50 percent of the issue's advertising revenue to Africa-related charities. Now she's given free rein to photographer Bruce Weber, who filled the bulk of L'Uomo Vogue's December issue with a 100-plus page portfolio depicting his vision of life in Miami. Sozzani celebrated the results last Friday with a dinner cohosted by Moncler's Remo Ruffino at Miami's Casa Tua that drew the likes of Marc Jacobs, Naomi Campbell, Andre Balazs, Jay Jopling and Cornelia Guest. "With the crisis today, people need to dream. And it's only in dreaming you can forget the reality," Sozzani said by way of explanation as she sat in the backyard of Weber's Golden Beach home two days before the party. "Otherwise, why do a magazine? You already have the newspaper."
Which is why she wanted to devote so much space to Weber's work, all with nary a fashion credit in sight. "L'Uomo Vogue is not exactly what you call a fashion magazine anymore," she pointed out. "Basically, I am more free than anyone else because I don't think that you sell clothes through a [fashion] credit. I think that you go through an image, that you sell a dream, and [then] the clothes." For example, of the cover shot, she said, "I think that Javier Bardem in a pink bathrobe is more a fashion statement than to have something with a big logo on his shoulder."