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Vogue Italia’s historic headquarters in Milan could barely accommodate the crowd of well-wishers that turned up to celebrate the magazine’s 50th anniversary on Sunday, at the tail end of the city’s fashion week. Images from the magazine splashed on the walls prompted Giorgio Armani to proclaim: “What a good job my colleagues have done [over the years].”

Wearing a brightly colored, striped gown from Valentino’s next spring pre-collection, the magazine’s editor in chief Franca Sozzani said she opted to blow up archival magazine images across the walls, creating a kind of high-fashion wallpaper, so that the building would look “like an apartment, not like an office and not like a gallery.”

This story first appeared in the September 23, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

“I didn’t want to give the idea that you usually give to the photography, [that] photography has to be in a gallery. No, photography can be anywhere because it’s part of our life,” Sozzani said. The archival images have also been digitalized.

Asked about a documentary her son, photographer Francesco Carrozzini, is developing with his mother as the main subject, Sozzani said, “We are still doing it, because we have a lot of progress with the producer. Francesco still wants to do it and… I still want to do it.” She was quick to note, however, that quality was more important than production speed. “I do it well, or I don’t do it,” she said.

“Here is the history of Italian fashion — they should have school groups come through,” said Tod’s chief Diego Della Valle.

Antonio Marras said the exhibition was “like a general brushing up on fashion in school. You see photos that you remember and had forgotten. It’s a dive in the past but with an eye on the future.”

“It’s beautiful, there’s a whole inventory of many of our models [on the walls],” said Stefania Valenti, chief executive officer of Elite World and Pacific Global Management, citing the agency’s cover girls Cindy Crawford, Claudia Schiffer and Naomi Campbell.

Tod’s creative director Alessandra Facchinetti said she recognized the photos even though she was too young to have actually seen some of them the first time around. “My first collection of magazines was of Vogue,” she reminisced.

Laura Lusuardi, fashion director at the Max Mara group, was also in the mood for celebration, noting her own milestone — 50 years at the Italian fashion house.

Guests included Karl Lagerfeld, Riccardo Tisci, Neil Barrett, Roberto Cavalli, Dean and Dan Caten, Kean Etro, Francisco Costa and executives including Gildo Zegna, Michele Norsa and Pietro Beccari.

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