It is time for one of my favorite features... our eloquent and extraordinary editor-at-large Dara Block is here to share with us the December 1992 issue of Vogue Italia featuring Sofia Coppola as photographed by Steven Meisel. Also included is a brief interview with Sofia from the issue, originally published in Italian and translated to English here by the lovely Francesca Berti. Thanks so much, Dara and Francesca, for this inspiring look at the early style of Sofia, bellissima.
I must admit that I have always been intrigued by the personal style of Sofia Coppola. Lately, I have been noticing that her individual style hasn't changed much since the 1990s. I guess you could say she has always been the quintessential minimalist. No matter what age she is, her style is always understated and elegant. She continually remains modern, yet completely focused at the same... making her a true icon of style for our generation.
Recently, I purchased Vogue Italia's December 1992 issue with Sofia Coppola on the cover and I couldn't help but be in awe of this Steven Meisel editorial. Coppola was 21 when the photos were taken. The magazine was published around the time when she starred in her father's film The Godfather III — before she became the talented director she is today. Its interesting how the world has always been captivated by her.... whether as a director, model, or style icon. She definitely has that jolie-laide — as the French would say. This term is used to describe a woman who is attractive, but is not considered conventionally pretty. Personally, I always find this type of beauty much more appealing, and so much more relatable. Sometimes, I think perfection can be overrated. I like the idea of appreciating all types of unconventional beauty and I think Sofia Coppola definitely fits in that category.
I so love the way Sofia Coppola looks in this editorial. She looks so innocent, natural, and completely herself. I remember back in the 90s, my sister and I grew our hair long because of the way Sofia Coppola's hair looked in these photos. She was our total hair inspiration. The texture and look of her hair is so vibrant and stunning in these photographs. I also love how her wardrobe looks so comfortable and modern. These images are perfect examples of 90s minimalism making her the poster girl for low-key west coast cool. I think it's quite impressive how she still follows this type of look and style. What I appreciate most about this Meisel editorial is that she is not screaming for attention. The styling is simple, yet her wardrobe choices are so interesting to look at. How rare it is for someone to be that mesmerizing.... but Sofia Coppola does it so effortlessly well.
I must admit that I do love her style now, but I will always have a soft spot for her style during this era. With time I believe this editorial becomes much more iconic and legendary. The simplicity of these black and white images are quite astonishing. Looking back, I so admire that Sofia has always had such a distinct sense of style. She always wears clothes that complement her style and her personality. In an age of so many manufactured and repetively unstylish individuals it's nice to see that Sofia Coppola has always been so comfortable being herself... making her quite the fashionista of the 90s and today.... what a breath of fresh air she is!
Sofia Coppola: un viso intenso, una forza espressiva tra Callas e Loren, una bellezza latina già esplosa al cinema nel padrino parte terza.
Non lasciatevi ingannare dall'aria da ragazza del sud. La ventunenne Sofia Coppola ha l'accento e i modi di una perfetta Valley Girl californiana. Su certe cose legate alle sue radici però non scherza, ad esempio sull'amore tutto italiano per la famiglia e la pasta, o sulla sua immagine mediterranea. ‹‹Temevo che Steven Meisel, da grande fotografo e image-maker qual è››, dice Sofia, ‹‹mi avrebbe convinto a radermi le sopracciglia, invece mi sono dovuta ricredere: la photo-session è stata eccezionale, l'atmosfera, la musica, la privacy dello studio mi hanno fatta sentire del tutto a mio agio. È stato un po' come lavorare sul set di un film››. Dopo una serie di piccole parti fatte un po' per gioco, Sofia il suo debutto cinematografico lo ha avuto due anni fa nel ‹‹Padrino parte III›› sotto la regia del padre. In realtà il ruolo era di Winona Ryder, che però dovette abbandonare il film a lavorazione già iniziata per un'improvvisa malattia. E Francis Coppola, costretto a trovare un sostituta, la trovò in casa. Una vicenda di cui si è molto chiacchierato: ‹‹Il film è stato per me un'esperienza positiva ma difficile››, commenta Sofia, ‹‹se non ne sono uscita traumatizzata è stato solo per il supporto che mi ha dato la mia famiglia››. Oggi però la recitazione non rientra nei suoi progetti immediati. Anche se ha girato ‹‹Inside Monkey Zetterland››, un film sperimentale che verrà presentato al Sundance Film Festival, la rassegna di cinema indipendente organizzata da Robert Redford, in questo momento la sua attenzione è concentrata su Los Angeles e gli studi al California Institute of the Arts: ‹‹Spero di laurearmi presto in Belle arti. Mi interessa molto l'arte contemporanea, mi piace la pittura, anche se non credo diventerò una grande pittrice: ma è un'esperienza che potrò utilizzare nel cinema››. Intanto sta anche preparando ‹‹Hi-Octane››, un videomagazine da vendere a una rete televisiva: ‹‹È un "cruising", un vagabondaggio di due ragazze, io e una mia amica, che girano la California a bordo di una decappottabile fermandosi a fare interviste dove c'è qualcosa o qualcuno di interessante: artisti, attori, musicisti. Anche perché conosco molto bene la band-scene di Los Angeles. Il mio ex ragazzo è un musicista, ed anch'io prendo lezioni di batteria e spero di poter suonare in un gruppo››. Così tra una lezione di pittura, un giro in macchina e un rullo di tamburi si snoda la vita quotidiana di Sofia Coppola, figlia d'arte, italiana d'America, ragazza degli anni Novanta.
Sofia Coppola: an intensive face, an expressive force in the manner of Callas and Loren, a Latin beauty already exploding in the cinema in The Godfather III
Do not be fooled by the air of a southern girl. The twenty-one year old Sofia Coppola has the accent and the mannerisms of a perfect Californian Valley Girl. About certain things related to her roots she doesn’t joke, for example about the love all Italians have for family and pasta, or for her Mediterranean image. "I was afraid that Steven Meisel, as big a photographer and image-maker as he is," says Sofia, "He would convince me to shave my eyebrows, instead I have to think again: the photo-session has been exceptional, the atmosphere, the music, the privacy of the studio makes me feel comfortable. It was a little bit like working on the set of a movie." After a series of small parts, Sofia made her film debut two years ago in The Godfather III under the direction of her father. The role was intended for Winona Ryder, but she had to leave the movie in progress due to a sudden illness. And Francis Coppola, forced to find a replacement, found it at home. A story which has been much discussed: "The movie has been for me a positive experience but difficult," commented Sofia, "If I did not end up traumatized it was only due to the support that my family gave to me." Today acting does not fall in her immediate plans. Though she directed Inside Monkey Zatterland, an experimental film that will be presented at Sundance Movie Festival, the independent film festival organized by Robert Redford, at this time her attention is focused on Los Angeles and her studies at California Institute of the Arts: "I hope to graduate soon in Fine Arts. I am very interested in contemporary art, I like painting, though I don’t believe I will become a great painter: but it is an experience that I can utilize in films." Meanwhile she is also preparing Hi-Octane, a video-magazine to sell to a television network: "It is a 'cruising,' a vagrancy of two girls, me and a friend of mine, that cruise around California in a convertible, stopping to do interviews where there is something or someone interesting: artists, actors, musicians. Also because I know very well the band-scene of Los Angeles. My ex-boyfriend is a musician, and also I take drum lessons and I hope to join a group." So between painting lessons, cruising in the car, and a drum roll, unravels the daily life of Sofia Coppola, daughter of art, Italian of America, girl of the Nineties.
This article was such a joy to read, as well... it is quite exciting to flashback into the life of a 21 year old Sofia Coppola before she became a filmmaker. I think it is quite cool how she discussed working with the legendary Steven Meisel and how comfortable she felt posing for him. I think it really shows in this editorial. Also, I like that she discussed her experience in taking part in The Godfather III. I think we all know that working on this film was not one her favorite professional experiences, in part because she is more comfortable working behind the scenes rather than acting in front of the camera.
Another noteworthy part about this article is that she discussed her interest in contemporary art. At the time, Coppola was studying painting at the California Institute of the Arts. Through reading this interview, I like how Coppola expressed that she would like to incorporate her painting skills in the future for when she works on a film. Oddly enough, many years later with films like The Virgin Suicides and Lost in Translation we see how Coppola has beautifully integrated her artistic eye into all her films. Coppola definitely has a passion and fascination for all things creative and I think you see that in this article. Perhaps, you could say that no matter what age she is, it seems like she has always been curious about art and design and I admire the way she always seems to combine that into her work. She is very much a tastemaker and a style icon and I love that Vogue Italia noticed that about her at such a young age... what a classic issue this is!
Vogue Italia translation from Italian to English by Francesca Berti
Sofia Coppola in Vogue Italia editorial images © 1992 Condé Nast. All Rights Reserved.