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Model Iman set to receive the Franca Sozzani Award for her philanthropy

Wednesday August 7, 2019
Sarah Maisey

Model and humanitarian Iman is set to be awarded the Franca Sozzani Award later this month. AFP

Somali-American supermodel Iman is to receive the Franca Sozzani Award later this year to mark her contribution to the dual universes of modelling and humanitarian work.

Named for the late editor-in-chief of Vogue Italia, Franca Sozzani, the award is designed to honour women for their artistic work as well as social commitments.

The late editor in chief of Vogue Italia, Franca Sozzani, in who's memory the Franca Sozzani Awards have been established. AP

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Despite a hectic schedule at Vogue, Sozzani was an active and vocal supporter of humanitarian projects around the world, including Convivio in Milan (which she established) to help prevent the spread of Aids. The journalist was also named ambassador for the Fashion4Development in 2012 for the United Nations, and even Harvard Medical School has The Franca Sozzani Chair to help continue her work.

The Franca Sozzani Award was established by her son following her death in 2016 from a rare form of lung cancer and Iman is the third recipient. The previous two winners are actress Julianne Moore and actress and philanthropist Salma Hayek.

Announcing of the award, Sozzani’s son, photographer and film director Francesco Carrozzini, explained: “Iman’s work has disrupted the fashion industry in a way similar to Franca’s: bold, innovative and inclusive.

“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 honoured for her to accept the Franca Sozzani Award.”

Iman started her modelling career in New York in 1975, as one of the very few women of colour in the industry. Hard-working and pioneering, she helped pave the way for future generations of models of colour in an almost all-white industry. With her elegant, willowy frame, Iman was much in demand, and was even described by French fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent as his "dream woman".

Aside from her career, Iman has dedicated much of her time to humanitarian work, working with organisations such as The Children’s Defense Fund, Action Against Hunger and the Raise Hope For Congo campaign.

In 2013, alongside model Naomi Campbell and model agent Bethann Hardison, Iman help set up the Diversity Collection to highlight the lack of diversity on the runway. Under its banner, brands such as Marc Jacobs and Victoria Beckham named and shamed for a lack of inclusivity in t

In 2010 she was recognised with the CFDA’s Fashion Icon Award, and is on the panel for for Vogue’s Forces of Fashion, as well as the Apple Award. She was also married to singer David Bowie for 24 years until his death in early 2016.

The award ceremony will be held in Venice on Tuesday, August 27, the ahead of the Venice Film Festival, and will be hosted by Carrozzini and his wife Bee, daughter of Anna Wintour. Like previous occasions, it will be held at Sozzani’s favourite hotel in Venice, the Belmond Hotel Cipriani.


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