*Fashion icons Iman and Naomi Campbell were among the honorees Wednesday at a luncheon held to memorialize Franca Sozzani, the woman who helmed Vogue Italia for 28 years.
The wives of at least 16 heads of state joined iconic models and designers in New York Wednesday at Fashion 4 Development’s (F4D’s) First Ladies Luncheon at The Pierre, which also gave awards to Simone Cipriani, Dr. Precious Moloi-Motsepe and Sybil Yurman, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Host Evie Evangelou founded F4D in January 2010 with the mission to “educate, empower, enhance and enrich” women in the developing world, partly in response to former United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’sEvery Woman Every Child initiative.
For nearly seven years, her sole Goodwill Ambassador was Sozzani, the longtime editor-in-chief of L’Uomo Vogue (a.k.a. Vogue Italia). Sozzani died of lung cancer in December at age 66, and the luncheon was held in her honor.
Under Sozzani’s reign, in July 2008, Vogue Italia famously published an edition featuring only black models on its editorial pages (and Naomi Campbell on the cover). That issue sold out at newsstands around the globe.
Campbell praised the issue from the lectern Wednesday night for “reignit[ing] the fire under the right for equality in the fashion industry.”
Wearing a gold “David” necklace in honor of her late husband, David Bowie, fellow former Vogue Italia cover star Iman told The Hollywood Reporter, “What [Sozzani] had as an editor was the humility part of it, because she saw beauty in everybody … That is what was so special about her rather than a lot of other people who are in our business.”
Iman was introduced via video by her friend of 41 years, designer Donna Karan.
And, although first lady Melania Trump was not present for the proceedings along with other first ladies, that didn’t stop Somalia-born Iman from making an indirect reference to her husband in her speech: “As a Muslim and an immigrant, I’m very concerned about the rise of anti-Semitism and Islamophobia in many parts of the world. This religious racism will be a defining hot button for generations to come. Let’s not have history repeat itself and pledge to take a stand and proclaim, ‘Not on our watch.’”