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Grace Coddington, design icon.

Grace Coddington, design icon

She of the flaming red hair, pale skin and burgundy lips…

Grace Coddington is a model, stylist and photographer and was the creative director of American Vogue for almost 30 years. With some creative license Stanley Tucci played her to Meryl Streep’s Anna Wintour in The Devil Wears Prada.

She rolled through the 70’s with its wet lipsticked glossy models, into the 80’s and 90’s supermodel girl power and then helped create the grunge, heroin-chic look. I think she’s seen it all in her inspired whirlwind of creativity and passion for fashion.

An utterly brilliant visionary. With a child-like view of fashion, as though seeing everything for the first time and tiring of nothing. Coddington is a creative genius who can think big, with an almost royally infused, sweeping style and balance that same expansive thinking with the ability to create simple, striking images.

Here’s all you need to know about Grace Coddington.

  1. She was obsessed with fashion as a teenager, living remotely on the island of Wales she would covet her collection of Vogue magazines which would arrive by snail mail.
  2. She was pale skinned, convent educated and never went anywhere on her holidays. So Vogue gave her an escape from the monotony of her day-to-day life.
  3. After working as a model she moved to the other side of the camera for British Vogue and Calvin Klein in New York. In 1988 she joined the infamous Anna Wintour at Amercican Vogue where she was the magazine’s creative director until 2016. Wow, Vogue in the 80’s and 90’s. Who else thinks that would have been cool?
  4. She’s a true ‘cat lady’ and is devoted to her cats Pumpkin and Blanket.
  5. This year she has collaborated with Louis Vuitton and has designed ready-to-wear pieces, leather handbags and silk pajamas adorned with illustrations of her cats, Pumpkin and Blanket.
  6. She’s a skilled illustrator and her drawings have featured in her many collaborations, such as  a quirky bag and scarf for Balenciaga which was inspired again, by her cat Pumpkin.
  7. She launched her first perfume ‘Grace by Grace Coddington’ (as you do) – bergamot, basil and pink pepper, softened by freesia and peach blossom… an ode to her childhood spent in English gardens. The bottle lid took the form of a cats head.
  8. I think she might be a little bit eccentric. How wonderful!
  9. She’s responsible for, through her sweeping, vivid imagery ‘making fashion art’.
  10. She looks like a modern day Elizabeth 1 with her shock of red hair and porcelain skin.
  11. I love that she sketches images from the front row at fashion parades while others just snap with their phones. Old school. Nice.
  12. She is absolutely dedicated to the pursuit of beautiful imagery and once had Jerry Hall pose in a red swimsuit atop a Russian monument and then had to smuggle the film out of 1970’s USSR. Guts!
  13. She was and is the ‘guardian’ of artistry in an industry sucked dry by commercialism.
  14. In the 80’s when money flowed, Coddington would think nothing of carting a huge team to the African desert for two weeks to shoot a campaign. Now she says… ‘it’s two days and it’s not even Africa – it’s Miami, and you’re trying to make it look like Africa!’. Times have changed.
  15. In another life, I’d like to be her.

Visit here to watch Grace Coddington work with Tiffany and Co.

Image courtesy of Grace Coddington: A Life in Pictures

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