December 14, 2012

Grace Coddington – The Fashion World’s Best-kept Secret


“If Wintour is the Pope . . . Coddington is Michelangelo, trying to paint a fresh version of the Sistine Chapel twelve times a year.”—Time

For decades, Grace Coddington’s flair and extraordinary talent have been translated into some of the most creative spreads that grace the pages of Vogue magazine. However, had it not been for the success of the 2009 docummentary ”The September Issue”, she just might have remained fashion’s best-kept secret. Previously unknown for anybody other than those behind the scenes of the fashion world, Grace was now suddenly under the spotlight, as the whole world could now witness the passion and dedication that she puts into her work, translating into Vogue magazine’s most memorable fashion shoots.

A child of the Fourties, Grace was fascinated by fashion ever since she was a teen, when she would immerse herself into the lavish world portrayed in Vogue magazine. Living in Anglesey, Wales, miles away from any designer shops, the magazine was her only connection to the fashion world, which she later stated that she liked precisely because it was so out of context compared to the life that she was living.

When Grace was 17, she ended up winning Vogue’s model competition, after some of her photos were submitted to the contest, and began modelling. She was the muse behind Vidal Sassoon’s Five Point Cut, and she posed for Bailey, Donovan, Duffy and Norman Parkinson in Swinging London and jumped into a pool in Saint-Tropez for Helmut Newton, quickly becoming a face of the Sixties. At the age of 26, a car crash made her lose her eyelid, which was later reconstructed through plastic surgery. Two years after that, she was offered a job as Junior Editor for British Vogue, after an interview with editor Beatrix Miller. That was the place where she started to create the fantasy travelogues that would become her trademark.

Grace Coddington on the cover of Vogue magazine - August 1962

Grace Coddington on the cover of Vogue magazine – August 1962

Grace worked for nineteen years as Photo Editor with British Vogue, before moving to New York to work for Calvin Klein. Since July 1988, she has been working alongside Anna Wintour as creative director for American Vogue. The duo’s professional partnership continues to immensely influence modern style.

In her book, titled ”Grace: A Memoir”, launched earlier this year, she details her close relationship with the fashion world, her friendships with the likes of Bruce Webber and Calvin Klein, her marriages to restaurateur Michael Chow and photographer Willie Christie, as well as her romance with hairstylist Didier Malige. Filled with vintage photos and exclusive hand drawings, the book also details the process of producing some of the most memorable Vogue spreads, from designers, models and photographers to hairstylists, make-up artists and celebrities who collaborate in their production.


Grace Coddington’s memoir is available in book stores for the price of approx. €20.

Photos courtesy of:,,