Variably described as “unquestionably the greatest living stylist,” “the Michelangelo to Anna Wintour’s Pope” and “Fash-ed Supreme,” Grace Coddington is one of the fashion world’s most respected editors. Coddington’s commitment to getting the best shot has seen her climb Greek columns to throw smoke bombs at a model’s feet and pour vats of dye into the ocean, in order that it be just the ‘right’ blue.
Coddington began her career as a model in London’s swinging sixties. Having won a Vogue modelling competition she was featured in the magazine’s ‘young ideas’ section. Coddington or ‘The Cod’ as she became known, soon established herself on the London scene, thanks in no small part to Vidal Sassoon creating his iconic five point cut on her “incredible bones, and marvelous neck.”
However, a car accident at the age of 26 cut Coddington’s modeling career short. But since Coddington worked in front of the camera at a time when models were responsible for their own hair, makeup and accessories, her ability to improve a shoot by styling herself was such that British Vogue editor Beatrix Miller offered her a job as a junior fashion editor at the publication two years after the car accident.
Grace shot by David Bailey for VOGUE, 1966
Coddington immediately excelled and continued to do so, working her way up the ranks at British Vogue to the position of senior fashion editor in 1976. In 1987 Coddington left Vogue to become design director at Calvin Klein. Klein would later go one record saying that Coddington was the first European fashion editor to fully appreciate American design. Anna Wintour, a past colleague, asked Coddington to join US Vogue in 1988. Wintour told Mark Holgate, “When she accepted I was over the moon.” Coddington is now creative director of the world’s most famous fashion publication.
Image taken for Interview Magazine. (Full interview)
Her romantic, rich and detailed aesthetic is consistently rooted in powerful visual narratives that rely upon beauty, not allegory, to be compelling. Coddington’s vision and approach are at the very heart of the entire industry.
Having spent a year in the halls of American Vogue, following its inhabitants, R J Cutler, director of The September Issue said, “Every billboard, fashion magazine spread, every advertisement we see today has been influenced by Grace Coddington, in some way or another.”
This little snippet was made to mark Grace´s British Fashion Award for Outstanding Contribution To Fashion in 2010.