RALLYING CRY: It was a tough weekend in Italy, with news of a school bombing on Saturday in the south followed by a 6.0 earthquake that hit the north early Sunday. Brindisi, a city in the Apulia region — the heel of Italy’s boot-shaped peninsula — lost a 16-year-old aspiring fashionista, Melissa Bassi, in the bombing that also seriously injured several other students at the Morvillo-Falcone school, which specializes in fashion and tourism.

So when La Stampa journalist Gianni Riotta tweeted: “Melissa and her classmates studied fashion and loved fashion: can Italian fashion do something in honor of these kids?” the responses came pouring in.

This story first appeared in the May 22, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

“I’ve been around for many years but Evil still manages to throw me,” tweeted Vera Montanari, editor in chief of Italian Grazia and Flair. “Sure, more than willing. I’ll think of some ideas then let’s talk.”

“Ok. Let’s talk,” chimed in Maria Luisa Trussardi, president of Finos, the holding company that manages the Trussardi brand.

Lavinia Biagiotti, vice president of the Laura Biagiotti Group, replied: “My mother Laura and I are in and I’m sure also many colleagues. Monday I’ll talk about it at the Camera Della Moda and let’s see what we can do.”

Franca Sozzani, editor in chief of Italian Vogue, tweeted: “I don’t think this is the time to talk about fashion, but to think of the pain for the death of Melissa.”

On her blog post May 21, titled “How can we let someone take our dreams away?” Sozzani addressed violence against young people in general — using the Italian bombing and the prevalent rape of girls in Africa as examples — noting: “When by right you have your whole life ahead of you, it’s absurd, inhuman, that a violent hand should stop you and shatter your dreams.”

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