Monday, October 22, 2012

Excitement Gathers for Grace Coddington's Memoir

Ever since I saw The September Issue, the 2009 documentary on the making of the 2007 fall-fashion issue of Vogue, I've had a soft spot for Grace Coddington, who is the magazine's flame-haired and refreshingly down-to-earth creative director.

Vogue magazine's Grace Coddington (in the center) is at last releasing a memoir.
Image from

Watching her fearlessly go toe-to-toe with Vogue's steely eyed editor-in-chief Anna Wintour, warmly comfort those on the receiving end of Wintour's wrath, and superbly weave together fantastical fashion sets and ensembles endeared her to me. The segment of the documentary where Coddington reflects on her earlier years as a successful model in Swinging London intrigued me so much that I swore if she ever wrote a memoir of those years, I'd snatch it up. Those in the publishing world must have realized that such a book would be a hit because, barely a year after the theatrical release of The September Issue, Coddington was "approached by agents and publishers looking to translate her September Issue fame into a bestseller," reported on August 22, 2010. According to, the book would cover "her modeling days in Sixties London, the car accident that changed her career path, and her ascendancy through fashion's ranks as a stylist and editor at British Vogue and, later, its American counterpart." It would be cowritten with Jay Fielden, the former editor-in-chief of Men's Vogue, and published by Random House. Fast-forward to two years later, and Fielden has been replaced by Vogue writer Michael Roberts and the book is given a release date.

Image from

Grace: A Memoir will at last be released by Random House on November 20, 2012. The 416-page memoir promises to "introduce readers to the colorful designers, hairstylists, makeup artists, photographers, models, and celebrities with whom Grace has created her signature images," according to the book's description on The memoir also "reveals her private world with equal candor - the car accident that almost derailed her modeling career, her two marriages, the untimely death of her sister, Rosemary, her friendship with Harper's Bazaar editor-in-chief Liz Tilberis, and her thirty-year romance with Didier Malige. Finally, Grace describes her abiding relationship with Anna Wintour, and the evolving mastery by which she has come to define the height of fashion." posted an excerpt from Grace: A Memoir. Here is a snippet:

My contemporaries were girls like Bronwen Pugh; Sandra Paul, a classic English beauty who married a politician; and Enid Boulting, whose daughter, Ingrid, also became a famous model and went on to marry John Barry, a composer of much of the music for the James Bond films. Another contemporary, Tania Mallet, was cast in a Bond movie herself (only to be killed off after a fleeting appearance), and many of the other girls ended up marrying lords. There was a kind of "Upstairs, Downstairs" feeling to things at the time. I suppose that's why my mother didn't object to my going to modeling school. But the models-pursued-by-aristocrats phenomenon was not destined to last. The Profumo affair, a sex scandal that hit the British headlines in 1963, was a sordid sensation involving government ministers, aristocrats, Soviet spies, and two good-time girls, Christine Keeler and Mandy Rice-Davies. They were referred to in the popular press as "models" - which gave our profession a terrible name because, to the British public, the word "model" became pretty much synonymous with "prostitute."

To read much more of the excerpt from Grace: A Memoir, go HERE.

No comments:

Post a Comment