grace coddington a memoir

From the very first page, I completely and utterly enjoyed Grace – A Memoir by Grace Coddington. Like most, I’ve had a mega-crush on the endearing genius that is American Vogue’s creative director since I first saw The September Issue at the New Zealand International Film Festival some years ago. Coddington was the unexpected star of the film – she was every bit as warm and funny as editor Anna Wintour was cold and cutting. Since the documentary’s release, interest in Coddington and her lifelong career in fashion has been off the charts. This memoir is her response to that.

It is a beautiful, deeply personal insight into her entire life, from growing up on a tiny island in Wales, through her modelling career to her years at both British and American Vogue and everything in between. She hasn’t spared any detail, putting every career move, relationship, love and loss on the page. There are celebrities, affairs and run-ins with customs. I laughed, I cried, it moved me.

After Coddington herself, the star of this book is the fashion. Having worked in the industry for 50 years, she offers first-hand insights into many of its defining moments. She charms with stories of interactions with designers, as well as behind-the-scenes peeks into modelling and styling editorial shoots for Vogue. She describes her personal style evolution in detail, including her beautiful sketches of her favourite outfits. There are also sections dedicated to photographs documenting both her life and fashion exploits.

Grace – A Memoir is a must-read for any fashion nerd. It is a beautifully personal story of one woman’s slightly mad (in a very British way), determined and long-lasting love affair with fashion, its people and its industry. I highly recommend it. The book is published by Random House and retails for $50. ┬áIt is available now.

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