A maestro with one foot in publishing and the other in brick and mortar locales, Carla Sozzani knows a thing or two about mastering the art of design. Her store, 10 Corso Como, which recently opened up in New York’s South Street Seaport, is helping up the ante on one of Manhattan’s newest neighborhoods. Meanwhile, the recent revival of Rizzoli’s Alaïa tome has cemented her role in making beautiful things—with substance. Here, she takes us through the creation of her latest book and why her retail space will always be a hotbed for the exchange of ideas and thoughts.
In the process of reviving the monograph on Alaïa—a text that had been out of print for a decade—how did you go about modernizing the first edition?
Actually, the book seemed so perfect and so modern to all of us that nothing has been touched. The only difference is that the cover is in black because we found a wonderful box to present it in and Christoph von Weyhe and I wrote a new foreword of the book.
Are there any particular traits or facets of Alaïa that you and your team focused on highlighting in the book?
Azzedine was a very curious man and it all comes out in the book. What makes the book so unique is that it was Azzedine himself who edited the book and worked at the book for almost 10 years before sending to print. He was never happy until finally…it happened. All his passions for the arts are in there, as well all his closest friends and family.
While looking through the archives of Alaïa’s work as you curated the book, which aspects of Alaïa’s designs felt the most powerful to you?
Alaïa work is timeless. If you look at the clothes, they don’t need a date, they are a seamless continuation of each other. They are so modern, no matter when they were created.
What was the spark between the two of you that fostered such a long and loyal friendship?
Love is sometimes immediate, sometimes grows over the years. We had the chance to experience both with one another. We became instant friends in 1979 when we met, then our friendship continued over the years and our affection and respect for each other grew.
What informs your personal taste in design the most?
I only choose what I like, and if is beautiful or interesting to me, I like to share. Sharing opens you up to more and more interesting discoveries.
How does 10 Corso Como exist in relationship to you? Do you think of it as strictly a business project or is it more of an extension of your personal interests?
It is a direct expression of my personal life. It came from my editorial experience in magazines—I wanted to create a living magazine in which all the aspects of life that I care for were on display, open to the public.
With brick and mortar locations in Milan, throughout Asia, and now in NYC, the brand has had the opportunity to welcome the customer into a physical space specifically curated by you and your team. What design elements are most important to you when planning a new 10 Corso Como space?
Creating a destination is one of the most challenging and exciting projects ever. It is like a new rebirth each time.
How do you envision the continued growth of the brand?
I think it is even more interesting today than at its inception in 1991. When I came up with 10 Corso Como, I wanted to create a place where people could meet and exchange ideas—there was no internet and communication was slow. Today communication is too fast, and I am excited to see young people gathering together in the gardens of 10 Corso Como, putting down their phones, and talking.
Is there anything in particular that you hope visitors to the store take away from the experience?
A sense of serenity, peace.