For decades, Grace Coddington’s personal touch has steered wildly imaginative fashion spreads in Vogue magazine. Then came The September Issue, the behind-the-scenes documentary that turned the spotlight on a woman with a no-nonsense attitude and an unerring visual instinct. Overnight, the flame-haired Grace became a heroine for fashion insiders and the general public alike.
Witty and forthright, and illustrated throughout with vintage photographs and exclusive line-drawings, Grace: A Memoir shares the excitement and vision that go into producing so many unforgettable fashion images. Here are the designers, models, photographers, hairstylists, make-up artists and celebrities with whom Grace has created her ‘stories in pictures’ – whether it be Jerry Hall conquering the USSR or Tom Ford falling down a rabbit hole in Annie Leibovitz’s version of Alice in Wonderland.
Grace’s own life has been as dreamlike as one of her madcap fashion spreads. Brought up in windswept wartime Anglesey, she arrived in London, aged eighteen, and quickly became a face of the Sixties. The muse behind Vidal Sassoon’s Five Point Cut, she posed for Bailey, Donovan, Duffy and Norman Parkinson in Swinging London and jumped into a pool in Saint-Tropez for Helmut Newton. Surviving a serious car-crash, she later became a fashion editor at British Vogue and during the Seventies and the Eighties started to create the fantasy travelogues that would become her trademark.
Friendships bloomed – with Bruce Weber and Calvin Klein, whose offer of a job took Grace to New York. While two early marriages to restaurateur Michael Chow and photographer Willie Christie were brief, her romance with the hairstylist Didier Malige has endured. And her professional partnership with Anna Wintour – with whom she has collaborated for over twenty years – continues to have an astonishing influence on modern style.
Grace Coddington is the creative director of American Vogue magazine. British-born, she won a Vogue model competition in 1959, and pursued a modelling career in London and Paris. Landing a job as junior fashion editor at British Vogue in 1968, working under the legendary Bea Miller, she was latterly fashion director under the young Anna Wintour. Lured to New York by Calvin Klein in 1986 to be his design director, she was invited back to Vogue when Wintour took over the American operation in 1988. More recently, Grace was the surprise star of The September Issue, R. J. Cutler’s documentary about Vogue magazine, and celebrated her seventieth birthday in 2011. She lives in New York City and Long Island with Didier Malige, her boyfriend of nearly thirty years, and their two cats, Bart and Pumpkin.