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by on January 20, 2011

Vogue Italia‘s Editor-in-Chief, Franca Sozzani took to her blog today to vent her frustrations, some of them indirectly lobbed at Carine Roitfeld. Among her grievances: “trashy” nudity, sexualizing children, nudifying old people and pretending “what’s ugly is avant-garde.”  She went on to say, “You know, I’m kind of over fashion.”

The Gospel According to Sozzani

In her broken English — or badly translated Italian — Sozzani extols the virtues of Yves Saint Laurent‘s nakedness, Stephanie Seymour‘s snatch, and the artistic nudes of Helmut Newton and Richard Avedon.

They knew how to be naked back then!

She then goes on to call Terry Richardson and Juergen Teller trashy and blame them for transforming nudes into “something sexy and crude rather than glossy.” Whatever “glossy” is supposed to mean.

The editrix then goes on to attack the Tom Ford-helmed issue of Vogue Paris, featuring a wide range of exploitation:

“How about little girls? Wearing heavy make up, sexy clothes, posing in poses that are outrageous for their age.”

Sozzani seems to think that the pinnacle of child exploitation was in the 80s Brooke Shields pedo-fest, Pretty Baby, as “the images were actually romantic for the harsh reality [baby prostitution] portrayed in them.”

And as for those naked elderly people, she’d prefer they keep their wrinkly birthday suits covered up, thank you very much.

Franca Sozzani’s point in all of this is that the images being presented should say something and not just shock for the hell of it.  I love a nude male model as much as the next lady, often much much more, but when does it go from being art or fashion and just becomes porn?

Answer: point of insertion.

But beyond that, if a collection just isn’t good, there’s no point in calling it avant-garde. That’s an easy cop-out. If an article of clothing defies categorization or tradition, sure, call it avant-garde. But feel free to listen to Franca when in doubt:

“If what’s beautiful depends on your opinion, what’s ugly just repulses you.”

What do you think? Does Franca Sozzani have a point?

Link Love: Vogue Italia

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Contributed by Lester Brathwaite

I was center square from 1969 to 1978, during which I perfected the art of the zing as well as a crippling cocaine addiction. Bea Arthur was responsible for both. @LesFabian lester dot brathwaite at gmail

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