David Bowie

IN HER HONOR: Iman will be the third recipient of the Franca Sozzani Award, which recognizes women who stand out for their artistic careers and their social commitment.

Starting her career as a pioneering model in 1975, Iman has developed skin-care collections designed for women with skin of color and has been involved in humanitarian work for The Children’s Defense Fund, Action Against Hunger and the Raise Hope For Congo campaign. In 2010, she was recognized with the CFDA’s Fashion Icon Award.

The Franca Sozzani Award was established by the family of the late Vogue Italia editor in chief Franca Sozzani.

Salma Hayek was the second recipient last year, following Julianne Moore in 2017.

The event will be held on Aug. 27, ahead of the 76th edition of the Venice International Film Festival, running Aug. 28 to Sept. 7. The ceremony will take place at Sozzani’s favorite Belmond Hotel Cipriani, a five-star hotel on Venice’s Giudecca island, and it will be hosted by Sozzani’s son, photographer and film director Francesco Carrozzini, who established the award, and his wife Bee, daughter of Anna Wintour.

“Iman’s work has disrupted the fashion industry in a way similar to Franca’s: bold, innovative and inclusive,” said Carrozzini. “Using her platform to the best of its potential, Iman’s work from lobbying the CFDA for an increase of diversity on the runway to impactful humanitarian work, displays her true passion and focus. We are truly honored for her to accept the Franca Sozzani Award.”

This year the award also celebrates the beginning and support of The Franca Sozzani Fund for Preventive Genomics at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital at Harvard. The “Franca fund” was established in 2018 by Carrozzini, performing artist and investor D.A Wallach, and Harvard Medical School professor and physician-scientist Robert Green to accelerate the use of genomics.

Sozzani, who died of a rare form of cancer in 2016, dedicated her life to supporting fashion and creativity but also channeled her efforts in humanitarian projects around the world. The Franca Sozzani Chair at Harvard Medical School is a post created to ensure that work continues.

Green, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and director of the Genomes2People Research Program, said Sozzani “was a creative and pioneering woman who revolutionized the fashion world and whose example challenges us to do the same in medicine. The Franca fund is supporting research and advocacy to transform medicine from disease treatment, to disease risk assessment and prevention, starting with hereditary forms of cancer and heart disease.”

Sozzani organized Convivio in Milan to help fight AIDS and in 2012, she was appointed to the post of ambassador for the Fashion 4 Development program within the United Nations — a platform that aims to encourage fashion leaders to work on sustainable development initiatives. Sozzani was also U.N. Ambassador Against Hunger and she supported the European Institute of Oncology.

In 2017, Fashion 4 F Development Award winner Iman acknowledged Sozzani for making social change possible and pioneering fashion’s development in the African continent. 

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