The documentary “Franca: Chaos and creation” by her son Francesco Carrozzini has recently arrived in our cinemas, dedicated to the famous director of Vogue Italia Franca Sozzani, recently passed away.

Watching it I rediscovered the work of this woman and how much her desire to always go against the current marked the course of fashion publishing.

Fashion editorials denouncing like any reportage, but with a decidedly stronger visual impact, environmental disasters, wars and the obsession of the Western world for beauty at any cost.

How much are we willing to sacrifice in order to follow the continuous chimera of perfect beauty? How many psycho-physical problems arise from it?

Bulimia, anorexia, suicidal tendencies, use and abuse of drugs.

How can excessive love for one’s body turn into a hatred and contempt just as strong for it?

One of the latest fashion news was the presence of the pantheon of the great top model of the 90s at the commemorative fashion show for Gianni Versace. With the difference that instead of being sitting in the parterre, this time the models were all together on the catwalk.

Naomi Campbell, Claudia Schiffer, Cindy Crawford, Carla Bruni and Helena Christensen, wearing a tribute to the famous metal mesh of the great designer, have in fact closed Versace catwalk in the pose of five goddesses ready to be venerated.

At the age of 50 and with a physical form that would make every woman pale, there was still someone who had to complain about the not so tonic Crawford knees or Christensen’s overly trained shoulders.

Looking back at them, I wanted to look for their photos in the golden age, when Armani, Thierry Mugler, Valentino and just Gianni Versace contend for them.

And I was surprised how much their bodies were definitely more harmonious and full of current models. Today probably some of them would be considered “curvy“.

Yet at the beginning of the year 2000 models from ephebic bodies and on the verge of anorexia were very sought-after (Kate Moss docet).

Riguardandole a me è invece venuta voglia di ricercare le loro foto nel periodo d’oro, quando Armani, Thierry Mugler, Valentino e appunto Gianni Versace se le contendevano.

E mi sono sorpresa di quanto i loro fisici fossero decisamente più armoniosi e pieni delle modelle attuali. Oggi probabilmente alcune di loro sarebbero considerate “curvy”.

Eppure già agli inizi del 2000 le modelle dai fisici efebici e al limite dell’anoressia erano ricercatissime (Kate Moss docet).

Often to see them in those covers, slumped, almost suffering, one wondered who could ever consider that kind of beauty really attractive.

Despite this, designers such as Alexander Mc Queen and journalists like Carine Roitfield, former director of Vogue Paris, have chosen skinny top models changing the canons of beauty.

Probably the same question was asked by the two Russian photographers Loral Amie and Gigi Ben Artzi in creating “Downtown Divas“, one of the most shocking reportages ever made.

Protagonists of this short 7-minute video are heroin-prostitutes in an unknown Russian city, who, skinny and full of cuts and bruises, are dressed in luxury garments such as Louis Vuitton, Miu Miu and Alexander Wang.

What’s even more puzzling is that if you do not focus on the wounds of girls, this could be the classic magazine fashion editorial more or less alternative to the Juergen Teller genre.

The absent looks, almost lost in the void, the movements without force, shaggy hair: each of these elements we have probably already seen in a fashion editorial of the ’90s about the Heroin Chic trend.

And it does not matter if France and California promote anti-ana laws for catwalks and force them to report photos retouched in advertising campaigns.

And it does not matter if more and more teenagers are victims of cyber and real bullies because of their physical appearance and for this reason they often fall into self-destructive spirals.

And no matter how many Bette Ditto and Ashley Graham can invite us to be proud of our bodies, whatever they are.

Fashion as always is the mirror of society and its ambitions.

Downtown Divas // ©Gigi Ben Artzi, Loral Amir

Downtown Divas // ©Gigi Ben Artzi, Loral Amir

Downtown Divas // ©Gigi Ben Artzi, Loral Amir

Downtown Divas // ©Gigi Ben Artzi, Loral Amir

Downtown Divas // ©Gigi Ben Artzi, Loral Amir

Credits Cover Photo // Mario Sorrenti