Thursday, 12 June 2014

"i loved all the boys with soft sad eyes and lost souls"

I wrote briefly about the experience of reading Grace Coddington's memoir here. However, upon further reflection, I realised that it warrants a whole post to itself, in which I can also write an ode to Coddington in general.

Promotional poster for 2009 documentary film "The September Issue"

Like so many others, my first impression of Grace Coddington came from "The September Issue" (lame, i know, surely someone as worldy and cultured as me should've been born with knowledge about this fashion maverick, right???) I watched it on the same life-transforming day that I watched "Coco Avant Chanel." I guess I hadn't become the moody, aloof person that I am today (thanx adolescence) because when I saw Grace walking around in head to two black, spouting a flow of swear words and generally trying to ignore the camera, I thought that she came across as rude.

Natalia Vodianova and Marc Jacobs in my favourite shot fromCoddington and Leibovitz's "Alice In Wonderland" inspired shoot.

However, initial impressions aside, as soon as I learned Coddington's concept for the Annie Leibovitz fairytale-inspired "Alice In Wonderland" shoot (including famous designers playing some of the characters!!), I fell in love with her and her work. Twelve year old me had not previously imagined a world where fashion could come to life through narrative. To this day, those kind of ideas, with such an essential link between style and story (be it in a fashion shoot, collection or personal style blog post) are what attract me to fashion again and again. 

I now appreciate Coddington much more in "The September Issue" because she proves that she is not in the industry for the stardom or the glamour (although the tales of both are dominant throughout her memoir) but because she has a genuine passion for what she does combined with a wondrous talent and dedicated work ethic. Perhaps this is why her career has been so consistent, gaining her an endearing following from all over the world.

Anna Wintour (left) and Grace Coddington (right)
 
If Anna Wintour maintains the icy cool, calm, sunglasses wearing attitude that is the foundation of American Vogue, then Grace injects life into the magazine. She gives it personality and ensures that it remains a magazine for the dreamers; like she once was as a teenager growing up in Wales. 
 
Another thing that is admirable in Grace is her dedication to models over celebrities. Although Anna has steered the magazine in a different direction with regards to its celebrity focus, Grace ensures that is ultimately about the fashion. Celebrities have the instant saleability appeal, but there is something more authentic about using fashion models. 

Grace modelling with her definitive eye makeup

One of the most exciting parts of Grace's memoir is her description of modelling in the sixties and seventies. She tells tales of making out with Mick Jagger, visiting Andy Warhol's Factory and experiencing the sixties "youthquake" in London. On top of this, she brings alive a world where her fashion clique (including David Bailey and Karl Lagerfeld) hang around in Paris cafes and beaches in the South of France. Heart eyes emoji.

Grace Coddington's timeless appeal has already ensured that she will go down in fashion history. She has inspired people the world over for many years. This allure goes beyond merely wanting her job (although I want that too), but also wanting to in some way embody her personality and creativity that provides endlessy lovely pictures on the pages of Vogue and endlessly lovely prose in her memoir. I think that her life would make a wonderful film. Just imagine the scenes in Paris... <3

What do you think of Grace Coddington? Have you read her memoir? Do you have a favourite shoot? (mine's "Grunge and Glory")

4 comments:

  1. Sooo happy you made a post about grace :))

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    1. haha i think this is the first time you've commented but i had a feeling it would be you when i saw that there was a comment. ~creepy. glad you like it :')

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  2. I love all your grace posts, it just makes me so happy. And what you have to say is so great, and I my view of her changed a lot since the first time watching the September issue. I think I'm going to need to go back and rewatch it now...

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If you comment I'll always love you and we can hang out and bake vegan cupcakes and drink tea and listen to sixties records. Go on, you know you want to...