-By Val Bitici-
In 1991, after stints as a fashion editor at Vogue Italia and editor-in-chief at Italian Elle, Carla Sozzani decided to make a break from the magazine world to pursue a career as a gallery owner. She found a large Renault garage at number 10 Corso Como, in Milan’s then-sleepy artisan district, and promptly opened an eponymous exhibition space where she would later showcase works by notable artists such as Robert Polidori, Helmut Newton, André Kertész, and Guy Bourdin.
However, Carla Sozzani’s career as a gallerina quickly became the springboard for an increasing number of reforms to the ex-carport. The former editrix spliced her sartorial inclinations with her business savvy, and capitalized on the spacious layout of the building by dividing it into a multiplex of boutiques. Keeping with the simplicity of the property’s uncomplicated design, Sozzani named the market after its address, and started displaying and selling her favorite things: exotic books and CDs, home wares, clothing, accessories, and beauty products.
10 Corso Como soon evolved into a mecca for shopping, attracting swarms of visitors from around the world. In 2002, the megastore left its first international footprint by joining forces with Commes de Garçons to open a store in Tokyo. The collaboration was so successful that Sozzani teamed with Samsung to bring a CFDA branded pop-up shop to Seoul, South Korea a few years later, in 2008. She was honored that same year for her contributions to fashion at the Fashion Group International’s 25th Annual Awards, in recognition for her collaborations with labels such as Alaia, Rag & Bone, and Balmain. A lucrative online expansion for 10 Corso Como commenced just one year later, as did another collaboration with shoe designer Roger Vivier.
Sozzani, whose sister Franca still reigns at Vogue Italia, runs 10 Corso Como as an editor would organize a pictorial, offering a carefully curated collection of goods from around the world. Under her tutelage, 10 Corso Como has become an epicenter of art and commerce, and an incubator of style. The multi-brand emporium that exists in Milan today includes scions of Sozzani’s flawless taste and vision: an art gallery (her firstborn), an outdoor café, a roof garden, a three-suite hotel, and a slew of stalls that sell a mélange of goods designed by the megastore’s own brand, or by both small and high-end labels from around the world.