During New York fashion week, we noticed that Vogue creative director Grace Coddington was carrying around an advance copy of her just-released memoir seemingly everywhere–even at fashion shows like Donna Karan and Rag & Bone.
And ever since I got a copy of Grace: A Memoir, I’ve been doing the same thing: toting the large orange tome around everywhere, prompting strangers on the subway and in elevators to ask “Is it good?” If my willingness to schlep a big hardcover around NYC wasn’t a clear indication of how I feel about the book, I happily spell it out for these inquiring minds: “Yes! It’s so good. You should get it.”
I’m not moonlighting as a Random House publicist. I just think the book is great.
As Anna Wintour said in an interview published in today’s Telegraph, “[Grace Coddington] is one of the great unsung heroines of our business.” This was a fact that became evident to everyone who saw The September Issue, where Coddington emerged as the star thanks to her wit, candor, and, well, her balls–she seemed to be the only one willing to talk back to Wintour.
Though Coddington is more of a behind-the-scenes person–her job requires it and she describes herself as shy and reserved (in high school Coddington’s parents arranged for her to eat at a quiet cafe so she “didn’t have to talk to anyone”)–when The September Issue made her a star. Doing press for the doc forced Coddington to open up and she figured “maybe I had a bigger story to share.”
And we’re so glad she did because Coddington’s life story is not only funny (she’s got a distintictive blunt, “let’s get on with it” kind of tone) and inspiring, but it’s also an insider’s history of the fashion industry and how it’s changed from the 1950s to today. Starting her career as a model in the ’50s and becoming an editor at British Vogue in the ’60s before moving on to American Vogue in the ’80s–Coddington has truly seen it all.
Here’s what we learned, in Coddington’s own words.
Photos: Courtesy Grace: A Memoir (Random House New York)