She went from shy school girl to Vogue model by the time she was a teenager. She made the leap from model to fashion editor in her twenties, and has been impacting the fashion world in the decades since and will surely continue in the decades to come. Her flaming locks and porcelain skin have always set her apart. But it was her creative edge and eye for fashion that made her an icon. She is Grace Coddington.
Coddington, humble and at the same time in complete control of her world as creative director, challenges photographers and models on every shoot. Nothing will separate her from that perfect shot. Coddington works with the best to create the moving images that grace her spreads. Bound 12 times a year, it is her vision that molds the fashion bible known as Vogue.
In 2009 when the film September Issue was released, the creative director of Vogue became adored by all who watched. She was seen the perfect balance of warmth to Editor-in-Chief, Anna Wintour’s, sometimes cold demeanor. However, it was far away from the glamorous world of runways, photo shoots and designer clothes that Coddington got her start.
Pamela Rosalind Grace Coddington, who grew up in the quiet Welsh town of Anglesey, spent much of her time flipping through the glossy pages of Vogue.
“I loved the whole sort of chic thing that was so entirely out of context compared to the lifestyle I led,” Coddington is filmed saying in the September Issue.
When she enters and wins a Vogue modeling competition in 1960, life for Coddington would become just like that of the girls she spent hours gazing during her holidays. The Cod was at the forefront of the fashion scene in the 60s. Swinging London was her playground. With legs for days, she modeled mini skirts for Mary Quant and was made famous by the geometric bob she received courtesy of Vidal Sassoon whom she also modeled for.
Things slowed down for Coddington in 1961 when she was injured in a car accident. During the accident, her face smashed into the mirror, slicing off her left eyelid. Following the accident, she received a series of reconstructive surgeries and returned to modeling in 1963. Known for her versatility and praised for her beautiful bone structure, she continued to flourish in the world of modeling.
Five years later, her days a model were waning down, she was hired as a junior fashion editor for British Vogue. Coddington spent years working her way up and was made senior fashion editor and ultimately fashion director. Just one season after Anna Wintour took charge of the publication, Coddington resigned to pursue the role of design director for Calvin Klein. It was there with Klein that she learned about American fashion, and in 1988 she found her way back to Vogue. This time around she was dubbed fashion director of American Vogue under the charge of Anna Wintour, and in 1995 she gained the title of creative director which she’s held ever since.
“Somehow everything I did, I kind of fell into,” Coddington says in the September Issue.
She’s worked with icons in the fashion world from Richard Avedon and Christy Turlington to Arthur Elgort and Vidal Sassoon, and is undoubtedly the only one who can challenge the “Nuclear Wintour” herself. She’s the ginger-haired Michelangelo of Vogue. She is Grace Coddington.
– Jamie Wilson
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